As you begin your theological research, you have several different types of information resources available to you. This guide will help you understand what they are and get started choosing the best ones for your needs.
Reference works are a good place to find basic and background information on your topic. In the study of religion you will encounter common types of reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases, as well as some specialized types of resources such as concordances, lexicons, and commentaries. Here is a brief guide to types of reference works in religion with examples from the Dulaney-Browne Library collection. [Types of Reference Works in Religion & Theology]
The Internet is a powerful resource making thousands of times more information available at your fingertips than has ever been available to any generation of researchers in history. This can be both a blessing and a curse. When using the Internet for research it is important to keep some criteria in mind. Is the information on a particular web page: Accurate, Authoritative, Current, Objective, and Complete? [more on evaluating Internet sources...]
Selected Online Resources
The Association of Religion Data Archives A hub for statistical data for the study of religion. Includes congregational and denominational membership reports, GIS maps and other demographic tools, news, bibliographies.
GlobeTheoLib A joint project of Globethics.net and the World Council of Churches, this beta project features full text access to journals, reference works (including Oxford Handbooks of Religion), and document collections in all areas of ethics, theology and religion. Free registration is required.
The Text This Week Ecumenical online resource for background research on Lectionary readings, worship preparation, sermon notes and more. Includes links to recommended full-text articles in ATLA for each lesson (see note).
Insights into ReligionGateway site to research on religion, reflection on faith, ministry, congregational life, spirituality, vocation, leadership and theological education. Provided by the Lilly Endowment Religion Division.