Encyclopedias and other reference books provide excellent historical overviews that will help you put topics -- and the historians writing about them -- into context. The resources are a great way to
- Brainstorm ideas
- Narrow an existing topic
- Glean keywords for catalog and database searches
- Leverage bibliographies for the next stage of your research
Take a few minutes to browse the reference books and regular stacks. Call numbers for books about the civil rights movement are typically E184 to E185, JC328, and JC599.