Welcome to our guide to world religions research at the Bethel University Library. Use the tabs above as starting points for finding various kinds of information about the major religions of the world. More resources are available from the library site. This guide is by no means exhaustive. While we hope it will help you as you research on your own, it is not intended to substitute for personal assistance, which is available throughout much of the week. If you find that you're not getting the kind of thing you need, don't hesitate to get in touch with us for direct help. Find my profile and contact info on the right of this page. If I'm not immediately available when you need help, you can get help here--email, phone or IM.
Here are some tips that will help you save time and increase the quality of the information you get.
This is NOT just about how to get what you need for your class assignments. These suggestions can help you get good and reliable information for your life.
Answer these questions:
What do I need to know? Answer this is specifically as you can. You can only really satisfy your need if you know exactly what it is. Hint--sometimes you find this out as you go along. And then you may change your mind as you learn more. But you need to have something concrete to look for to avoid the information avalanche syndrome.
Where is the best place to find that kind of information? When it comes to any kind of extensive or important research, the answer is rarely the general web. Hint: most subject areas have disciplinary organizations that publish, collect and disseminate the information important to their fields. Find and use the indexes/databases provided by or at least associated with those disciplines: MLA Bibliography for things literary, PubMed, for medicine, ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), for education, and PsycINFO, for Psychology (published by the APA). Always remember:librarians exist to help you figure this out. If you don't already know this, ask one of us.
Why is it so important to find these special databases? It'll make something like the difference between going to Target or Walmart (general department stores) to furnish your dream house and going to a store that specializes in good quality furniture, or going to Perkins for a steak dinner and going to Lindy's Steak House (or Manny's or Morton's or Ruth's Cris). If you know that you want high quality, reliable information of a certain kind, go looking for it in a place that makes that information its business.
What is what I'm looking for called? Once you've found a good place to look for what you need, your next most important job is to find the right terminology for what it is you're looking for.