Marymount California University Library

Eng 114: Analytical Writing

Online Library Reference Sources for Background Information

Background information sources, also called reference works, provide brief overviews of topics and are a good place to begin if you don't already know much about a topic.

Writers look to reference works for general information and basic facts.


 Don't have a topic yet?  Try browsing Opposing Viewpoints for current U.S. topics in the news.

Examples of current U.S. topics or issues

  • unemployment
  • poverty
  • student loans
  • minimum wage

HOW TO DO A BASIC SEARCH for background information:

Using one of the topics listed above or your own, select a reference work on the right and enter the word or words (one or two words only, no questions) in the search box. 

For instance, entering the word "unemployment" in the search box, these are the results. If off campus, you'll be prompted for your MCU username and password.

 Interested in a global - not a national - topic or issue? Try browsing Global Issues in Context.

For more detailed information on your topic, see the News & Journal Articles tab above.

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