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FCS 1310: Foundations in Family & Consumer Sciences: Background Info

This course guide was created for FCS 1310 (Foundations in FCS).

Learning More About Your Topic

Once you have selected a topic, it is helpful to find additional background information. What to look for when learning more about the topic:

  • Definitions
  • Keywords
  • Concepts
  • Events, people, and key dates
  • Facts surrounding the topic

If your topic is "what influence has hip-hop music had on fashion trends," what kinds of background information would you need to know in order to find resources to write your paper?

Is There a Perfect Source?

“One Perfect Source?” YouTube.  libncsu. NC State University, 2014.

Paper Topic

Background Information Databases

These databases focus on current issues and trends. They provide information such as current situation of the topic, chronology, and opposing viewpoints. They are helpful when beginning to research a topic that you are not familiar with or if you want to know more about what both sides are saying.

CQ Researcher

In-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, economy, and global affairs.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Current social issues presented in topic pages with a variety of data on differing points of view.

Points of View Reference Center

Multiple sides of current issues, such as Iraq or stem cell research, for debates and position papers. Each topic features an overview/objective background , point (argument) and counterpoint (opposing argument).

Reference Resources

The Research Process

Researching is messy and you'll feel like you are going in circles sometimes, which is okay!  There are a lot of steps to go through before you start writing your paper.  This visualization can help you navigate your way through the process.

What is Mind Mapping?


It is also known as brainstorming, and is very useful for generating topics and keywords for your writing. You can create a mind map by hand using pen and paper, or find an online tool.