Reference works -- like encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries -- provide great overviews and background information.
In short, reference works are a great way to begin your research.
Need to look up a name, place, term, or event? The sources below contain many different kinds of encyclopedias and dictionaries and are excellent starting points for getting an overview on your topic as well as possible search terms to use later. Try them.
Need to find the earliest references to a word or phrase like "cockleburr"? Need to understand how a word was defined in a particular time period? Then these sources are for you!
Biographies provide insights into individuals' lives and achievements. The sources below contain brief biographies or biographical overviews on individuals. Many also point to other resources about an individual, including related news stories, book-length biographies, and/or author interviews.
These sources provide definitions and overviews of specific terms, concepts, and ideas. Try using them. In fact, try comparing definitions across several sources.