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Religions in a Global Context: Read before you start! First steps.

A library guide for the Religions in a Global Context: RELS 1015:0AAA

Picking a Topic

Sometimes it is hard to pick a topic for your research.

1. Brainstorm. Think of at least five possibilities that fit the assignment.

2. Pick a topic that interest you. You'll be spending time reading and thinking about it, so it should be something that interests you.

3. Match your topic to the scope of the assignment.

4. Ask a question. This may not be necessary every time, but asking a question can be a helpful way to frame your research.

5. Make sure your topic fits the assignment. Reread the assignment and if you're not sure, check with your instructor.



Basic Search

  • Title beginning with…
  • Author beginning with…
  • Subject beginning with… (Browse list of Subject Headings-LCSH)

Limitations to Subject beginning with… search

  • Subject headings are usually not intuitive
  • Restricted to structured subject headings
  • Geography and time period may be too specific

Advanced Search

  • Can be restricted to specific collections/units, formats, or languages
  • Allows for more flexibility yet more precision
  • Uses Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)
    • OR – allows any of the specified search terms to be present in the records of the items your search retrieves
    • AND - requires all of the specified search terms must be present in the records of the items your search retrieves
    • NOT – forbids specified search terms from being present in the records of the items your search retrieves

**Search Tip: Use ? as a wildcard symbol o identify records with variants of your search term(s).

Selecting and Using the Best Research Resources

Scholarly vs. Popular Publications

Web vs. Library Resources

University Press vs. Regular Publishers

Evaluating resources

Critically analyze information sources to evaluate the authority and quality of the books and articles you located. If you have found too many or too few sources, you may need to narrow or broaden your topic. Check with a librarian or your instructor.

  • Who is the author?
  • How current is the information?
  • How in-depth is the information? Is it accurate?
  • Can you see any bias?
  • What is the domain?

Evaluating Information