Doing some initial background research before you tackle your project in earnest can help you:
pin down your topic
gain familiarity with context so as to find sources more easily
get an idea of what kind of primary sources you will and will not be able to find.
Background research is an important first step in the research process. Arm yourself with general knowledge to more effectively narrow down your topic and find relevant sources!
Here are some tips for making the most of your background research:
start with general resources (like encyclopedias and general books on the topic, area, event, or figure you are studying)
skim! no need to read every word: you just want an overview
take note of things that interest or intrigue you - major figures, places, or events can be keywords for future, narrower searches
Not finding much? Widen your scope and use even more general ideas as search terms.
Finding too much? Narrow your scope: explore some more specific ideas that are of interest to you.
Try looking in:
For more on a particular country: