What Is Background Information?

Background information for an academic research paper is basic or introductory information about a topic. This information helps the writer and reader formulate an understanding of the topic that is being discussed.

When researching a new topic for an academic research paper, gathering background information aids in giving a macro view of a topic. This macro view includes key pieces of information such as dates, names, places or key events. It is from this vantage point that a writer’s thesis statement is formulated and more targeted research takes place. With little or no background information, the research process may be misguided and becomes a poor use of time.

The impact of generating a full understanding of a topic through the exploration of background information can allow a research writer to produce a more targeted paper. Narrowing down a research topic through obtaining thorough background information can ensure a paper includes all relevant information to the topic. This goes back to the formulation of the thesis statement, which indicates the general direction the paper will take. Without giving proper attention to background information, a paper may appear without true form or thought.