Religious Studies Research

Finding Articles


The Library provides access to a number of databases that can help you find articles in religion journals.

Academic Search Premier via EBSCOhost
This database covers many different subjects and provides you with current access to the leading religion and philosophy journals as well as magazines covering religious issues.

Catholic Periodical and Literature Index via EBSCOhost
Provides citations of articles and reviews published in Roman Catholic periodicals.

ATLA Religion Database via EBSCOhost
Provides citations and abstracts of religion research articles.

Philosopher's Index via EBSCOhost
Primarily provides references to philosophy journals, but also provides access to many key religion journals as well. A strength of this database is that it provides references to articles published as far back as 1940.

If your religion research is historical in nature, then you might want to consult the the History Research guide as well.

Books or Articles? Maybe both, but sometimes one format is better than the other. For your general education courses, you'll probably be using books mostly. The Library has a large collection of Bible commentaries and books about world religions, important religious thinkers, the history of religion and so on.

Books are the best place to start your research (see the Finding Books section below).

Articles are your best choice if:

  • You need current information. For example, the role of religion in an upcoming election or the analysis of the Pope's latest statement on poverty.
  • Your topic is very specific. For example, let's say you were doing a paper on the role of women in the Gospel of Matthew. The Library definitely has books that could help you, but there might be some very specific articles written on that exact topic that could help you as well.

When searching for articles in the databases above, remember to use the connector "and" between your keywords.

  • Islam and divorce
  • Catholic and priests and women

Finding Books


Books can contain excellent summaries of existing research and can be an important component of your research. Just remember to look at the publication dates and note that journal articles may give you more recent research.

To locate books owned by Niagara University Library, use the Library Catalog.

The ebrary electronic book collection offers full-text access to many titles.

If you want to search for books owned by other libraries, too, then try searching WorldCat, a catalog that contains references to more than 57 million items owned by 9,000 libraries worldwide. Don't worry - if you need a book owned by another library, you can request it. To learn how, jump to the section called Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own.

Tip: If you are searching the book catalog for commentaries and analyses of specfic books of the Bible, use "O.T." (for Old Testament) or "N.T." (for New Testament) in your search. For example:

  • N.T. and Mark
  • N.T. and John
  • O.T. and Genesis

Finding Films


There are three places to look for educational video and documentaries owned by Niagara University Library.

  1. The Educational DVD Collection is located on the first floor of the Library.
    This collection exceeds 1,500 titles and can be viewed and searched via the NU Library Catalog.
  2. Films on Demand. More than 6,000 video titles are available for streaming anywhere on campus.
  3. The web is a good source of video as well. Refseek links to some of the best sites:

Finding Reference Books and Web Sites


The Library provides access to an excellent collection of religion encyclopedias and dictionaries. The reference collection is located on the first floor of the Library. The call number range for religion is BL through BX.

The Library also provides access to a collection of online reference books through the Gale Virtual Reference Library. This collection contains several highly regarded encylopedias including:

  • Encyclopedia of Buddhism
  • Encyclopaedia of Islam
  • Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World
  • Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  • Encyclopedia of Religion
  • Encyclopedia of Science & Religion
  • Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an
  • New Catholic Encyclopedia
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices

Needless to say, there is a great deal of religion information on the World Wide Web. Of particular usefulness are the following sites:
Provides membership statistics for more than 4,200 religions and denominations.

Useful for learning more about different faiths, though it requires some persistence to find the pages that provide overviews of religions and their practices.
Allows you do keyword searches of the Bible in various English translations as well as other languages.
Access to leading Catholic magazines and newspapers, papal encyclicals, church documents, etc.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library
A digital collection of texts from the history of Christianity.

Encyclopedia Mythica
A solid site for mythology, folklore and religion.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Society
A very good site which contains articles on various aspects of religion ("conversion," "fundamentalism") as well as on the major scholars of religion.

Internet Public Library Religion and Theology Directory
Gathers some of the best links in one place.

Links to good starting points for the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

New Testament Gateway
A directory of web sites about the New Testament.

Religious Movements Homepage Project
A trustworthy guide for information on "cults" and new religions.

The Vatican Web Site
Includes papal documents, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and related materials.

Virtual Religion Index
A critically-acclaimed and comprehensive site.

Obtaining Materials NU Library Does Not Own


If you need an article or a book that NU Library does not own, you can make use of Interlibrary Loan to obtain it.

Tip: In a hurry? If the article or book you need is owned by another library in Western New York, you can visit that library and use their resources on site (view a list of Western New York library web sites).

Please note: If you wish to borrow a book from another Western New York library, you can get an InfoPass card at the Reference Desk.

Citing Your Sources


The Religious Studies Department does not require the use of a particular style manual, so check with your professor.