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*Religious Studies: Subject Guide: Encyclopedias & More

Search tips and research resources for topics in religious studies.

Reference Sources

Use Reference Sources, such as encyclopedias, to get a general overview of your topic. Reference sources are not intended to be read cover-to-cover, but rather provide you with more concise information as you begin to explore a topic. Reference sources generally provide several things:

  • Background information about a topic.
  • Brief, factual overviews of topics.
  • Information about important dates, events, and people associated with a topic.
  • Terminology and definitions of terms related to a topic.
  • Articles written by authors with expertise in the subject matter.
  • Bibliographies of sources for further reading.

Online Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

The following online encyclopedias and dictionaries are available to you from both on- and off-campus. For off-campus access, use your University logon and password (the same logon/password you use to log onto the campus computer lab computers).

Online Bibliographies

Types of Sources

Different types of reference sources answer different types of questions.

Listed below are common types of reference sources for research in philosophy and the kind of information contained in each.

Click on the type of source to retrieve a list of titles owned by the Library.

  • Atlas - Maps and geographical information.
  • Dictionary - Definitions of terms, either general or in relation to a specific subject or discipline.
  • Encyclopedia - Comprehensive summaries of factual information, providing more detail than a dictionary.
  • Handbook - Concise explanatory information on a topic.

Search GIL, the Library Catalog to find additional reference sources in the Library.