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SOC2330: Sociology of Religion: Religion or Theorist?

Religion or Theorist?

For this course, you have the option of choosing either a major religion or a significant theorist in the sociology of religion.  While the process for each is similar, there are some differences that you'll need to take into account.  

The following boxes outline how to start your research, based on the path you choose:

Researching Religions

Religions

Once you have chosen the religion that you will need to learn more about its history, beliefs and followers.  

Getting Started:

Many of these questions can be addressed with one or more of the Library's print resources, which include religious reference works (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) or books in our circulating collection (that you can take home).

In the Finding Books & Media section of this guide, you'll find a few selected titles to get started with, including Encyclopedia of Religion (Ref. BL31.E46 1986). 

You can also search the Online Catalog using the name of your religion and the word 'history', to see what other titles we have (for instance, Scientology history).

In general, you'll want to look at more than one source, to get the 'big picture', so be sure to find multiple books that discuss your religion.

Next Steps:

Once you've explored one (or more!) print resources, you may still need to fill in some of information needed for your assignment.  That's where scholarly articles can come into play.  

A list of suggested databases can be found under the Finding Articles section of this guide, although I would recommend starting with the following to find information on your religion:

I would recommend starting with just one keyword (your religion) and narrowing with additional keywords or by Subject (on the left in EBSCO and the right in ProQuest).  Also limit your results to scholarly articles, which tend to focus on specific aspects of a topic but may still provide an overview of your religion.

Researching Theorists

Theorists

After choosing your theorist, your goal will be to learn as much about that individual's thoughts about religion, and how these thoughts relate to the world in which they lived.

Getting Started:

One of the easiest places to find information about individuals (ancient to the present) is through the Library's Biography Reference Bank database.  A simple name search should bring up at least one biography, as well as links to article and book citations by and about the individual.

After gathering your basic biographical information, limit your results using relevant keywords (religion, exchange theory, social stratification, etc.) to focus on specific aspects of your theorist.

Next Steps:

Following your initial search, you should look in other biographical sources to both compare and expand on the information that you've already found.  The Library's print collection contains a number of good resources, which include religious reference works (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) or books in our circulating collection (that you can take home).

In the Finding Books & Media section of this guide, you'll find a few selected titles to get started with, including Encyclopedia of Religion (Ref. BL31.E46 1986). 

You can also search the Online Catalog using the name of your theorist and keywords like religion, social stratification, or exchange theory (ie, terms that sum up what you're looking for).

In general, you'll want to look at more than one source, to get the 'big picture', so be sure to find multiple books that discuss your theorist's beliefs/life.

Finally:

Once you've explored one (or more!) print resources, you may still need to fill in some of information needed for your assignment.  That's where scholarly articles can come into play.  

A list of suggested databases can be found under the Finding Articles section of this guide, although I would recommend starting with the following to find information on your theorist:

I would recommend starting with the name of your theorist, then narrowing with additional keywords or by Subject (on the left in EBSCO and the right in ProQuest).  Also limit your results to scholarly articles, to make sure that you're getting research-based resources.