Think tanks are research organizations that provide research, analysis, and advice on domestic and international issues. Think tank organizations may be affiliated with a political position, advocacy group, or a non-partisan organization.
Why would I need to use think tank research? If you're working on a project where you need to include perspectives on a policy, think tanks employ experts that can help you find that analysis. It is usually published faster and can be more comprehensive than a scholarly journal article, but think tanks still use academic research methods.Find a Think Tank
Government sources include published reports and information on the web about demographics, social programs, policies, laws, and recommendations at a local, state, or national level. There is a government agency for almost every aspect of public life that manages access to resources like housing, food, transportation, employment, and healthy lifestyles. Researchers and administrators are often tasks with conducting research and publishing official report to inform the public.
When would I need to find government information? If you're working on a research project about a current or historical social issue, you might use a government research report to understand the issue and how it affects a population, like the USDA's "Characteristics and Influential Factors of Food Deserts."
Not sure which government agency works with your topic? Try a search in Google using site:.gov and add keywords to find webpages and reports with statistics.
Background information includes general overviews of broad topics. Think people, places, things, events, and theories. If you're not sure what keywords to use in a library database, finding background information will help you learn more about a topic first and expand your search. Even Wikipedia can be a good starting place for background information. Need something more credible? Try some of the library's databases for background information.
When would I need to find background information? If you're working on a project where you're asked to include facts, you might look into an online encyclopedia or reference book. For example, you need to find information about where you can find a regional plant, its identifying characteristics, and images to include on your slides.
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