This guide will assist you in locating published scholarship (books and journal articles) to read on a topic. Choose a topic that is interesting to you and which will work within your assignment's parameters.
First, read a good summary of the topic in a subject encyclopedia, like those listed below. Second, once you have a basic overview of the topic then search for published scholarship, using catalogs to find scholarly books, and databases to find scholarly journal articles.
Remember to evaluate the accuracy of your resources, and think critically about their content and arguments. When in doubt, check with your Religious Studies instructor.
What is a scholarly journal article?
A scholarly journal article is written by a scholar or an expert, and provides a detailed analysis of a topic. It is written in the specialized language of a scholarly discipline (such as Philosophy). It documents the resources the writer used by providing bibliographic citations such as footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography so a reader can check or repeat the research the scholar has completed.
A scholarly journal is edited by scholars, and any article published in the journal has usually been approved by the author's peers or by referees (other scholars expert in the subject who serve as editors or readers and critique the article before it is accepted for publication). This is why most scholarly journals are referred to as a Peer-Reviewed or Refereed journals. Here is a comparison between popular and scholarly periodicals. There are usually several databases that can be used to search for journal articles on a topic.
Reports and studies are sometimes available from the major organizations for the scholarly study of religion.