Britannica consists of Micropaedia (Ready Reference), Macropaedia (Knowledge in Depth), Propaedia, and Index volumes. In the Micro you will find short articles, in the Marco you will find longer articles, in the Propaedia you will find outlines for fields of study and the credentials of the authors of the Macropaedia articles. Be sure to look up your topic in the index volumes to find all of the articles where your topic is mentioned.
Anyone can update Wikipedia articles so proceed with caution. While Wikipedia might be considered a good information source you may not want to rely on it as your only source.
A research process should be tailored to finding the best resources on your topic. The library's information resources are designed to meet the needs of a variety of subject disciplines and course-specific research topics. In general, the steps in a typical research process are:
Do exploratory research (focus on background material and broad introduction to subject)
Develop the topic (narrowing the focus)
Locate information (actively search for sources in a variety of databases, books, etc.)
Synthesize and write (compile notes from sources or experiments and decide on best writing structure)
Each phase of the research process is important and there are techniques to help with each step. If you are having trouble finding or narrowing down your topic, consider using exercises that incorporate brainstorming:
Basic Sources for Initial Research
Thesauri Terms for LC Subject Headings or the Big Red Books
UF Used for
BT Broader Term
RT Related Term
NT Narrower Term
SA See Also
Spy films (May Subd Geog)
When subdivided by the appropriate geographic, topical, and/or form subdivisions,
this heading is used for works about spy films.
UF Cloak and dagger films
Secret agent films
Secret service films
BT Motion pictures
NT James Bond films
Purposes of Research
Research is one of the fundamental processes humans use to discover or make connections among information. While this list is more specific to social sciences fields, research in general can be categorized according to three purposes: Exploration, Description, and Explanation.