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What is PreSearch?
Presearch is the informal searching you might do on a topic before you start your deeper, more focused research. When you're doing your presearch you're finding background information on your topic and creating context for your topic and how you might want to approach it.
You can use ANY kind of presearch resources you want, including Wikipedia, as long as you keep in mind that presearch is informal and some of the resources that you use to educate yourself about your topic are not necessarily appropriate for a college-level paper.
Some other good places to start your presearch are Google, GoogleNews, and some of the library's Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and other Reference sources.
New York Times: Sociology
Encyclopedia of Sociology (online)
This classic reference has been updated to reflect many changes in society and in the field of sociology in recent years. Articles covering core issues such as race, poverty, violence, economics, pregnancy and abortion have been updated and expanded, and completely new articles have been written on topics such as the Internet, privacy and epidemiology. 2001 edition.
Gale Virtual Reference Library: Social Sciences
Solano's online collection of encyclopedias on a wide variety of sociology-related topics including family, race, gender, economics, class, and more
Wikipedia as a PreSearch Tool
It's perfectly okay to look at a Wikipedia page to learn more about your topic when you're doing presearch, but you would not want to use this as a formal resource for your paper. What you can do is use Wikipedia's links and references to locate more authoritative and credible sources. In many cases you can find more authoritative resources, such as books and published articles from these references.
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Oxford English Dictionary
The most authoritative source on the English language, with a focus on etymology and historical usage.
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