Before you start any research on your topic, you must develop some background knowledge including facts, dates, and names of important people, places, or theories. Books and websites can provide you with that knowledge.
This is important because:
Remember, background information is always a starting point for research, not an ending point.
If you're not sure where to start with a research project, but have a topic in mind, you can start with these suggestions to get ideas:
Basler Library has a Reference Collection on the 3rd Floor across from the Information and Research Help Desk.
Reference works contain background information on a variety of topics related to the major fields of study at Northeast State and beyond. Use this information to check facts, look for ideas, and to get an overview of a topic or field. The items in this collection cannot be checked out, they are kept in the building so that all may use them.
Materials can be very specialized in this collection. For example, Reference Library of Hispanic America.
Check out this video from Suffolk County Community College Library to understand how primary, secondary, and tertiary sources vary by discipline.