Reference resources - such as encyclopedias and dictionaries - can provide background info on your topic. Reading encyclopedias can also give you search terms to use in the library catalog and databases.
Find hard copy reference books in the library, and online reference resources right here on this page.
Your instructor may allow certain reference sources to be cited, especially subject-specific ones - for example, an encyclopedia of art. However, best to ask before including it in your cited sources!
Reference books on countries and cultures are in the Library's Reference room, 2nd floor of DLRC. Ask for help in finding what you need.
Below are databases of encyclopedias. In each database, you can search your country, culture or cultural topic in multiple reference sources at once.