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Religious Studies: Getting Started

Subject Research Guide

Search for Background Information

Electronic Religious Studies Reference Books

The following ebooks are available in full text and completely searchable. Click the title to go directly to that book, or search all these encyclopedias and more using Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) in the box above.

Print Religious Studies Reference Books

The following books are print reference books found in the Reference Room (first floor) of Ryan Library. They are good sources of background information for topics in Religious Studies. They cannot be checked out of the library.

Books on Religious Studies Research

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

The Research Process

Follow these steps in finding sources and writing a research paper:

  1. Choose and refine your topic.
  2. Find background information on your topic.
  3. Prepare to search by selecting what types of materials to search and what search terms to use.
  4. Find the information.
  5. Evaluate what you find and revise as necessary.
  6. Cite what you use.

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.