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Religious Studies

Search Basics


  • PROs: various perspectives, diverse sources. CONs: same term - different meanings, overwhelming results

Many others, e.g. JSTOR, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar and many more (see "find databases")


  • PRO: specific and targetted. less overwhelming
  • CON: miss important perspectives from other fields. database idiosyncracies 
  • See subject guides (faculty and subject, or source type)
  • Make appointment with librarian(s) you already know (here if you're not sure).

Specialized search databases

Background & Reference

Search the library:  combine these terms with your broad topic(s) in the advanced search.

  • dictionary OR dictionaries
  • companion
  • handbook
  • bibliography
  • encyclopedia OR encyclopaedia OR cyclopedia
  • introduction
  • guide


(encyclopedia OR encyclopaedia OR cyclopedia) AND "world religion"

(companion OR handbook) AND religion AND philosophy

Collections of Background Resources

Note: search the library for print versions of some titles, and for titles that are listed but not accessible.

Subject Terms / Keywords

Use in basic search or "subject" field search. These are just a few:

  • religion; religions
  • sects
  • cults
  • mysticism; mythology

  • theology
  • "religious aspects"
  • ritual; rituals; liturgy; worship;
  • Feasts and fasts;

  • "study and teaching"
  • methodology


religion AND "study and teaching"

TIP: keep track of useful subject terms for future searching.

Call Numbers. Shelf Browsing.

Explore the shelves physically and "virtually" (through call number searching).

  • 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

Further breakdowns here (click on B section):

New books in the University of Alberta Library


Important: These links are out of our control. They may change or become dead unexpectedly.