Finding Background Information: Practice Example

Suppose that you want to do some research on the environmental and pollution aspects of an accident with chemicals that occurred in Seveso, Italy, but you don't know when the accident happened, nor what the chemicals were.

You will be able to perform a better search on a journal index if you first determine more information, like the date of the accident and the chemicals involved. Try to find this information now.  

Suggested Solution
NOTE: It would be useful first to determine the year when this accident occurred. This will help out when we set out to search the journal literature, since it will establish a year before which we need not look.
  1. Go to Google
  2. Using the search string accident chemical Seveso yields over 7000 sites.
  3. If we go to the 1st site Chemical Accident Prevention, Preparedness and Response, we learn that the accident occurred in 1976, and that the accident involved the release of dioxin (also known as tetrachlorodibenzoparadioxin).
  4. We now have two additional pieces of information: the year of the accident, and the name of the contaminant. This information will help us when we go to search a journal index.