Use reference and general information sources to gain a working knowledge on your topic. Be able to converse with someone knowledgeable about the topic for at least one minute without repeating yourself.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica is one of the world's foremost reference works. The online version contains more than 73,000 articles on history, the sciences, mathematics, literature, art, philosophy,...
A 24/7 virtual library of reference e-books in virtually any subject, including health, business, careers, history, literature, biography, science and many more, e.g.: Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods, Encyclopedia of Urban Studies.
Oxford Reference Online: Premium Collection provides easily searchable, full text access to more than 100 reference titles from Oxford University Press, including A Dictionary of Sociology, A Supplementary Dictionary of Social Research Methods.
Full-length articles include an overview, historical background, chronology, pro/con feature, plus resources for additional research. Graphics, photos and short "sidebar" features round out the reports. Shorter "Hot Topics" articles provide a solid introduction to subjects most in demand by students.
NewsBank consolidates current and archived information from thousands of newspaper titles, as well as newswires, web editions, blogs, videos, broadcast transcripts, business journals, periodicals, government documents and other publications. For reports and topic ideas check Current Events, Hot Topics and Find a Topic sections.