In order to begin your research, you need to develop a working knowledge of your topic. A good gauge of "working knowledge" is if you can talk intelligently about your topic for one minute.
Resources for Background Information
Reference works, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, are excellent places to gather background information and develop a working knowledge of a topic. Encyclopedias can be general (like Wikipedia, Brittannica, World Book, etc.) or subject-specific (The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance, Companion to Theatre in Australia, The Encyclopedia of Stage Plays into Film, etc.)
Where to Find these Resources
Reference materials come in both print and electronic format, and all can be searched for in CUNY+. Print reference materials are located on the 4th floor of the main library.
Electronic reference materials can be found in some of our databases. See below for descriptions of these e-book databases.
How to Use these Resources
Reference sources will provide you with an overview of a topic. Use the information in the overview to generate a list of keywords relevant to the topic such as names, locations, time periods, political/social events, artistic styles/movements. Most reference sources also include lists of further readings on the topic. Look these up! They may include books, book chapters, articles, and more.
Here are a couple of reference books available to you:
The following databases are great places to begin your research. Think of them as your Wikipedia alternatives.