Background information on a topic can often be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources. Encyclopedias in the reference area on the first floor of Milne Library cover most topics. Books often treat a topic more comprehensively than journal articles. Books can be a good place to find an overview of a topic. References to additional articles and books can often be found in a bibliography at the end of a chapter. Since journal articles are often more focused than books, they may provide more specific information than books. References to additional articles and books can often be found in a bibliography at the end of an article. Information in journal articles is usually more current than information in books.
Review articles: It is often useful to begin your research with a "review article". A "review article" includes a listing of all the important research on a topic. Reviews of Modern Physics (indexed in Academic Search Complete) is a good place to begin.