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Religion & Philosophy Research Guide: DMIN 853

This research guide features resources and strategies for finding information and conducting research related to Religion and Philosophy.

Welcome to DMIN 8553

Welcome to the DMIN 853

Research Help Page

Book Review Assignment

For the Book Review assignment, students will need to:

  1. Find 2 books, published in the last 2 years, related to your problem and cognate.
  2. Next, find 2 journals related to that cognate that typically publish books reviews within that journal. 
  3. Identify key information about those journals, such as: mission statement, history, field of study or popular topics, target audience, frequency of publication, current editor, where (and to whom) you can send book review submissions.

To fulfill step #1, search for books on the JFL main page by selecting the Book tab and entering in some search terms related to your topic of choice. 

Next, limit your search to the last 24 months, using the date options on the left side of the screen. Add other refinements to your search to narrow down the results to the relevant materials. 













Sometimes, a book is so new that the library does not have it yet. Consider looking at for brand new titles. 

A second method to fulfill step #1 is to go to Ebook Central, and then search for your topic again, limiting the results to the last 24 months. This site may yield different results from the main JFL page, due to a different search algorithm. Sometimes it will provide resources that don't include the topic in the title, but rather in a chapter or section within some book related to your topic. 

To fulfill step #2, we suggest going to one of the popular databases, like EBSCO Quick Search or ProQuest Central.

Run a search on your topic. You could limit to just book reviews but try searching for your terms under both articles and reviews first. Be sure to check the Peer Reviewed box as this will limit the results to those types of journals. 
If your search term/topic is yielding plenty of results, you may want to narrow the publication date down to the last 2 years. This step will assist in knowing that the journal is still in publication. 

Using EBSCO as an example, look on the left side of the results screen for the selection option "Publication" and click there.













Now, click the blue colored "Show More" to bring up a list of journals. This list is arranged by frequency of articles in each different journal. 
From here, select 2 from the list that appear to regularly publish articles on your topic.









Some other ideas are to pick a different database to search from. For example, instead of the EBSCO Quick Search (which searches several areas of study all at once), try a more narrowly focused database, like ATLA Religion. Or, try the Theological Journal Library (although this database does not have the Publication limiting feature).  

To fulfill step #3, try finding your journal on UlrichsWeb. This site will detail if the journal is current or still in publication. It also gives some general descriptions of the typical content or subject matter covered by that journal. To learn more about the journal, do a random survey of articles by selecting the link to the journal, and examining article titles from a variety of volumes. 

A second option is to simply do a general search on the Internet, using your favorite browser/engine. Locate the webpage for that journal and search for Guidelines, Submissions, or Contributors.

A third tactic is to pull up any volume of that journal and look at the first page(s) for the editors or contact information.


For example, check out this page for submissions to the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society: Instructions to Contributors.

The assignment will possibly require reaching out to the journal editor for more information or for questions on whether they accept unsolicited reviews. This does take some time to complete. 

Once you have found a journal that accepts reviews, be sure to take a look at several reviews already printed by that journal. Identify any commonalities in organization or format. Then adjust your draft to match how other reviews are typically written in that publication. 


Several journals will not accept reviews. There are various reasons for this phenomenon. The journal may simply have a policy against unsolicited reviews. There may be an approval process here, in which case prospective contributors must first establish their academic credentials or theological alignment before any submissions will be considered. In other cases, the journal editor may receive books from different publishers and then limit published reviews of those specific titles. Sometimes these editors are looking for contributors to select one of those books and to offer a review, but they are not open to reviews of other books not already provided by the publishers. Sometimes a journal may limit articles and reviews to their in-house personnel only. This happens often with smaller, school-based journals or those with a narrow theological focus. And lastly, certain journals may require all contributors to have a PhD or to hold current membership in a selected academic group/guild. 

Students may avoid unsolicited reviews sent to the following journals:
Bibliotheca Sacra
Calvin Theological Journal
Evangelical Review of Theology
Interpretation: Journal of Bible & Theology
Religious Studies Review