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Religious Studies: Getting Started

Subject Research Guide

Find a Topic using Reference Sources

Reference publications include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and guides.Using  Reference Books is an excellent way to begin your research. Articles in reference books provide background and overview information on a topic, person, place, or event of interest.  This information can also give you ideas for how to narrow your topic. Ryan Library has entire multi-volume encyclopedias on Religion.
NOTE: This link brings you to a search results screen in WorldCat which does show Iona publications.  However, they MAY NOT be in alphabetical order.
If they are not in alphabetical order, click the down arrow button to the right of "Sort By" at upper right of search results screen.
Select option Titles (A-Z).  Wait a moment for the list to re-sort.

Please Note: Print Reference Books cannot be taken out of the library.

Examples of Religious Studies Reference Books

Iona provides print and electronic Reference books.  Print Reference books are located on the 1st floor of Ryan Library in the Reference Room and are shelved by call numbers which begin with the letter "R".
Electronic reference books below have call number ELECTRONIC.  Simply click on the title.  If you are off campus, you will be prompted to input your Iona username and password, the same information you use to log in to computers here on campus.
Newly added electronic books appear first.

Below are just a few examples:

Books on Religious Studies Research

These books in Ryan Library describe both the process of researching religious topics, as well as different methodologies.

Sources for News & Current Events

Great Resources for Backgound Information -- Databases

These resources, while not reference books, are great places to find information about current events and controversial issues which may be viewed from a religious perspective, as well as news about various faiths.  Some include statistical data as well.

Examples of Reference Books from Related Fields

Many related field include helpful information concerning religion and society.
Encyclopedias and other reference books in fields such as education, history, mass communication, philosophy, political science, social sciences, life and physical sciences as well as business are influenced by religion.  Below are just a few examples of encyclopedias in related fields where you may find articles relating to religion and the role it plays in society including its influence on society and well as society's influence on religion.
You may also look for books dealing with a particular place (e.g. country or region) or particular groups of people (women, racial or ethnic groups).  Reference books focussing on these will often discuss religion or religious topics.