It is often a good idea to gather some background information on topic before digging into the research. This is what reference sources like encyclopedias are for.
Start with Britannica, select either the middle school or high school version. Remember that if you are off campus, you will probably need to log in. Logins are on the saeslibrary.follettdestiny.com page, AFTER you have clicked log in with your SAES credentials.
Middle School in Context is a great database. To find background information, search the database then select either "reference" or "biography"