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Current Event Mini Essay: Finding Background Research

What is background research?

Finding background research means you are using a variety of sources to find out more informatiom about the origins of your topic, the major events and influential individuals. Much of the research that you find in this step of the process is fact-based, meaning that the information will not necessarily be used as evidence in your essay. You can use many different encyclopedia-type sources to find background information. Take notes as you read, as this practice will help you develop keywords to use when locating primary sources or more in-depth secondary sources. 

Database Resources

Keyword Searching Tips

Defining Keywords 

As you read background information and review your main news article, you should make a list of KEYWORDS- terms that will be used in the search box of the databases or news outlet websites. Many times, you will need to perform multiple searches and use multiple keywords to result in a variety of sources. Remember, the more sources the better!

Develop synonyms/related terms list for your keywords

You might need to expand on some terms in order to search for your topic and find a variety of resources. 

Example Synonyms/Related Terms and Phrases Chart

Term in Map Above Alternate Term or Phrase
Boer War South African War
Conversion to Christianity Christianize/Evangelize/Convert
Enslaved people for economic gain Slavery and Agriculture/South African Slavery