Researching Background Knowledge

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National Association of Christian Ministers How to Series: Ministry #

By Michael Mooney, NACM Exec. Elder

When researching a subject, it is generally good practice to begin with the background knowledge that already exists.  In almost every case, there is already a wealth of information and theories that have contributed to the present understanding of the topic.  Nevertheless, the internet is inundated with websites offering biased opinions and unsubstantiated claims. For these reasons, sometimes it may be hard to determine the trustworthiness of a source. One of the best ways to find well grounded information, and content backed by academic research is to use website companions to textbooks.  Usually they provide at least 3 benefits:

  • A glossary of terms regarding a subject.  These are good for many reasons such as determining key words, major theories, and proper terminology.
  • Chapter outlines surrounding the most relevant information on the subject.
  • Links to other sites that are designed around those specific topics.