Skip to Main Content

Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Religious Studies

This guide introduces some of the library resources available at JFK Library related to Religious Studies. It also offers support for each course offered in EWU's Religion Minor.

Subject Expert

Profile Photo
Jaclyn Parrott
Office Hours held Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. or by appointment
Subjects: Religious Studies

Information Literacy Objectives (D.A.R.E.U.)

Research Process: D.A.R.E.U.?


Determine the nature and extent of information needed to accomplish your specific purpose so truth can be realized and understanding deepened.


Access necessary information in various formats strategically and effectively.


Approach research as inquiry, converse with scholars you agree and disagree with as part of the research process, and ruminate upon discoveries.


Choose sources critically and incorporate analyzed information into project and knowledge base.


Access, share, create, and cite information ethically and legally, understanding that information has value.

Narrowing a Topic

Topic: (think what, why, where, who, when, how)

I am studying...

Because I want to find out...

So that I can help others understand...


Types of Sources

  • Tertiary sources such as reference sources introduce us to our topic (e.g. dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.)
  • Secondary sources like books or articles are about the topic
  • Primary sources like a diary or government documents are firsthand accounts

Evaluating Sources

Why I would not cite Wikipedia in a paper:

Wikipedia does not expect you to trust them

Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed?

Consider JABS (Journal, Author, Bib, Source, Abstract)







CRAAP Worksheet


Evaluating Web Sources

When evaluating websites, take into consideration the following:

  • Source of URL
  • Extension (.com, .org, .edu, .gov. etc.)
  • Title of website/article
  • Accessibility and usability (easy to navigate)
  • Date of publication (current or updated recently)
  • Relevance to your information needs
  • Authority (author is an expert; credible organization)
  • Objectivity (purpose or intent is clear; no bias)
  • Accuracy (no broken links; good grammar; additional research support)

InterLibrary Loan

EWU provides two services (Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Summit) through which you can borrow materials from other libraries that are not available at EWU.

Interlibrary loan takes up to 5 days for articles and up to 7-10 days for books.

See here for more info:


Citing Sources

Why Cite?  

Use RefWorks, an online bibliographic citation manager provided for your use by our library.

Help with RefWorks or citation formatting

Try citation chasing.  Find a relevant article and then look for other sources from its bibliography.


Religion Minor @EWU

This guide covers how to do library research generally, and what types of resources are available for each course offered in EWU's Religion Minor specifically.

Visit the link below to learn more about the Religion Minor EWU offers.

Find Books and Other Resources

EWU Library Catalog 
Search for reference sources, books, audiovisual materials, maps, scores, course reserves, articles and more at EWU Libraries, Summit Libraries and beyond. Sign in with your NetID to save or request items.
Reference sources such as encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries are good introductory sources to acquire a broad understanding of an unfamiliar topic.
Search Eastern Washington University Library Catalog

Finding Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals

EWU Library Catalog Journal Search

Finding Databases and Articles

A-Z Databases

Search our introductory, general, and specialized databases for your research by subject, type of database, vendor, or title by clicking the link above.

Not sure what database would have articles on your topic? Try searching all the EBSCOhost databases.

Research databases
Limit Your Results

Library Linking to Google Scholar

Navigate to Google Scholar

From menu, select Settings

Next, select “Library Links”

Open WorldCat includes everything that is freely available

Type in Eastern Washington University, select this option and save it

Now when you are searching you can link to our library’s holdings from GS.

Google Scholar Search

Streaming Videos

Library of Congress Classifications

These are the call number classification ranges where you would find materials in our library for religious subject matter when you are browsing the stacks (bookshelves):
B5800-5802 Philosophy. By Religion.
BL Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
BM Judaism
BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc.
BQ Buddhism
BR Christianity
BS The Bible
BT Doctrinal Theology
BV Practical Theology
BX  Christian Denominations

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Library of Congress Subject Headings are controlled vocabulary terms you can use when searching the library catalog or databases, as this is how resources related to these topics will be indexed usually.  There are broader, narrower, and related terms associated with each of these.  Visit here or here to search for your own, and here to browse through an alphabetical list. 

Here are some general subject headings related to religious studies:

Religion Islam Christianity
Religious Life God (Islam) God (Christianity)
Religious Thought Muslims Protestantism
Philosophy Zoastrianism Catholicism
Mythology Buddhism Bible 
Gods Shinto Judaism
Church history Taoism God (Judaism)

Searching Tips

Searching Tips

  • Search online for range
  • Search stacks for depth

Choose Keywords:

  • Your own words for your topic
  • Think of synonyms for these words
  • Think in broader and narrower terms

Choose Subject Headings

  • From library catalog search, choose “Browse” in headings and then “Browse by subject” in drop-down menu
  • Follow subject tracings in databases
  • See suggestions here

Use Boolean Operators: Narrow, broaden, or exclude terms in your search

The AND operator retrieves only records that have all of the search terms included in the record.  You want to use this operator to narrow or limit a search. e.g. religion AND faith; religion AND Sikhism

The OR operator retrieves all records that contain one or both of the search terms. Use this operator to expand a search.  e.g. religion OR faith; religion OR belief system

The NOT operator eliminates records that contain specific search terms. Use this operator to limit a search, however be careful! You may unintentionally eliminate results from your search that may be useful. e.g. religion NOT spirituality

Use NEAR/n to find records in proximity (faith NEAR/3 practice)

Use SAME to find terms in same line

Nesting Search Technique: Narrow or broaden your search

Search Query:

(religion OR faith) AND (culture OR society)


religion AND culture

religion AND society

faith AND culture

faith AND society

Parentheses force order of processing

Phrase Searching: Narrow your search

Type a phrase with quotes so this exact phrase will be found in the results.

For example, “eternal life” will return results where ”eternal life” is written in the article or source.

Truncation Search Technique: Broaden your search

Truncation is also used when you are unsure of a spelling or want to retrieve plurals. The common truncation symbol across the databases is the "*". What the * does is it begins searching for any words that begin with the letters you've typed, but may end in many different ways. It looks something like this:

A search for theolog* will return results for theology, theologian, theologizing, etc.

Wildcard Search Technique: Broaden your search

Wildcards are used when you are unsure of a particular spelling or if there are alternate spellings of your search term. The most common wildcard symbol across databases is the "?". The wildcards work a little different within each database, but the common function looks something like this:

A search for col?r will return records containing color, colour, etc.

Facets or Limiters: Broaden your search

Narrow by publication year

Narrow by choosing FT

Narrow by selecting Scholarly/Peer-reviewed

Narrow by subjects

Narrow by language, region, etc.