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:
Different types of reference sources answer different types of questions.
These are common types of reference sources for research in Religious Studies:
To find reference books on a particular topic, tradition, etc., try a search like this in GILFind, the library's catalog, using the Advanced Search option:
"Encyclopedia," "dictionary," and "handbook" are all terms that will point you towards reference books.
The ORs connecting those terms mean that you are asking for all results that include any of those three words.
If you had linked them with AND, you would only get results that used ALL of those three words.
The AND connecting the two search boxes means that you are asking for results that include
any of the three terms in the first box AND the term in the second box.
(Click on the image to see the results of this search!)
Oxford University Press and Routledge Press both publish handbook series that give overviews of a wide range of topics, including Religious Studies topics. Examples include (but are not limited to):
These printable handout provide information on library resources and searching strategies for Religious Studies topics.