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CHEM 4689 - Capstone Project: Gather Supporting Materials

Getting Started with Background Information

You can start your research project by getting background information of a particular topic (e.g. definition, background, and overview)

There are many online reference sources you can use to gather information:

  • Reference Tools:

          Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, etc. (e.g. Oxford Reference Online)

          More reference tools on Research Guides: (

  • Databases:

          You can access the databases through

  • Journals:

          Journals are articles which help you understand a particular topic more thoroughly

          Finding journal articles from Library databases and Google or Google Scholar, what are their differences?

  • Other Internet Resources


These resources can help give you a quick overview of a topic with more credibility than Wikipedia or a broad Google search.

You can refer to the Library Resources tab for more information. 

Identify the Information Needs

To answer your research question, you may need different types of information. For example:

Information Types Examples Information Sources
Definitions of key terms
  • What are black holes?
  • What are atoms?
  • Encyclopedias and dictionaries
Facts and statistics
  • How many joules of energy is needed to heat up 1kg of water by 1K?
  • Many factbooks, social, economic and scientific data can be found at the Reference Collection
  • Government and company websites
Short review of a subject
  • What are Newton's Laws?
  • Reference books such as encyclopedia, handbooks and almanac summarize the most important aspects of topics concerned
  • Surveys of current discussion can be found in magazines and journals
Detailed study of a subject
  • How do electrons work in conduction of electricity?
A scholarly research article
  • What does the Theory of Relativity talk about?
Discussion of an event or current affairs
  • application of optic fibre in data transmission
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