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Get the Big Picture
Subject Encyclopedias are a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with a topic. Getting the big picture, identifying important people, events, concepts, or time periods can help you narrow your research topic. Encyclopedia articles often include a bibliography!
CQ Researcher Plus Archive
The CQ Researcher is a collection of reports covering political and social issues, with regular reports on topics in health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the U.S. economy.
Searchable database of several hundred subject encyclopedias and other reference works across all subject areas, but with particular strengths in the social sciences and humanities. It includes a number of major reference works, and is Northwesterns largest single collection of reference materials. A good source for authoritative background information.