Skip to main content
Centralia College logoCentralia College Kirk Library

Research: A Step-by-Step Guide: Find Background Info

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process. You'll learn about tools you can use for researching any topic, how to evaluate the sources you find, and how to get help. Especially useful for English 102 students.

Reference Books for Topic Overview

Reference books, primarily general and specialized encyclopedias, are the ideal starting point for doing research. Reference sources provide you with the necessary background information to give you a fundamental understanding of a topic. They can also help you develop a topic, especially when you have a broad topic that needs to be narrowed or focused in some way. At Kirk Library we collect subject-specific encyclopedias so you can get background information on specific topics across nearly all fields of study.These and other reference books cannot be checked out, but we have a photocopier available for your use. The reference shelves are located near the Ask Here desk.  A small sample of important reference books:

Online Reference Sources

 A few of our online reference sources:

Reference Book Sampler

Creative Commons License
The content of these guides, unless otherwise noted, by Kirk Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.