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Background resources provide contextual information and may include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, maps, statistical sources, and more. Once you have identified the main topic and keywords for your research, find one or more background resources to read. These resources will help you understand the broader context of your research and tell you in general terms what is known about your topic.
Online Reference Tools
Literature Resource CenterThis link opens in a new windowA comprehensive online literature resource, offering the broadest and most representative range of authors and their works, including a deep collection of full-text critical and literary analysis for literary studies.
Oxford ReferenceThis link opens in a new windowOxford Reference is a database consisting of over 180 reference books published by Oxford University Press covering all areas of knowledge. Oxford Quick Reference contains 125 core subject and language dictionaries, and over 16,000 illustrations, including colour photographs, line diagrams, maps, and tables. The database contains entries that are appropriate for students and researchers at all levels.
This resource is limited to five simultaneous CCNY users.
Novels for StudentsThis link opens in a new windowProvides critical overviews of novels from various cultures and time periods. Includes discussions of plot, characters, themes and structure as well as the work's cultural and historical significance.
Poetry for StudentsThis link opens in a new windowFeatures discussion and analysis of poems of all time periods, nations, and cultures. Provides an overview of the poem and discussion of its principal themes, images, form and construction.
Short Stories for StudentsThis link opens in a new windowProvides critical overviews of short stories from all cultures and time periods. Includes discussions of plot, characters, themes and structure as well as the story's cultural and historical significance.