When you are exploring a topic with which you are unfamiliar or have only limited information, it's valuable to find at least one source (e.g. subject encyclopedias, companions, etc.) that provides some background information. These types of sources are neutral in tone and provide a scholarly yet accessible introduction to a topic in the broadest sense; identify key ideas and themes; may point to important people associated with a topic; introduce unfamiliar terms that can be added to a list of keywords; provide a bibliography/list of works cited/sources for further study. Subject encyclopedias, in particular, may help you either choose a topic or narrow down a topic.