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World Religions - PHIL105

Using Library Resources for Research

Once you know a little about your topic and are ready to find more advanced information, you can start looking for sources you will cite in your paper or project. Keywords are an important part of this process, and in addition to continuing to consider synonyms, you may also want to think about related terms. These will help you narrow down your topic if you need to.

Synonyms - Now that you are looking for specific aspects of your religion, you can search for terms you found during the "pre-search" step rather than a general term.

  • For example, if I was researching Judaism, I might search for the more specific term Shabbat instead of the generic term ritual.

Related terms - A search for one broad topic like Judaism may provide an overwhelming number of results. By combining your main terms with other related terms, you can narrow your search and make it more manageable to read and write about. Combining search terms with the word AND will only find results that contain both terms.

  • Judaism AND ritual

To search for multiple synonyms at the same time, use the work OR to connect them. Combine this with your religion by putting parentheses around the 'OR' portion of your search.

  • Judaism AND (ritual OR rite OR ceremony)

To search for a phrase with multiple words in it, put quotation marks around the phrase. This forces the database to only search for those words in that exact order right next to each other. Be sure to only do this for commonly used phrases that you would expect others to use!

  • "Middle East"



Library Databases

Databases, which are collections of digital information organized by a common characteristic, like subject or format, can help you focus on the most relevant resources. Most databases have a box you can check for "Peer reviewed," which searches for only scholarly articles.