Textbooks introduce a topic to non-specialists and generally include
a bibliography of books and articles consulted. A good chapter can
provide an overview and the bibliography can point to more
A general encyclopedia covers the entire range of human knowledge in
brief. A search for a basic concept recalls every mention of that
concept in the encyclopedia, indicating different contexts for it
and some of the fields of study that have explored it.
cover the knowledge base of a single discipline in brief. A search
here can familiarize you with some of the different contexts within
which your topic has been discussed in a discipline.
Searching a simple term in a general periodical database like
EBSCO retrieves articles from magazines
and journals that include your topic. This will give you a chance to
see what's being written on your topic in magazines like Time, Ms.,
or Scientific American, and journals like Communication Quarterly,
Nature, or Harvard Law Review.