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Religion & Philosophy Research Guide: APOL 500 - Apologetics

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

Find and Use Scholarly Resources to Defend Christianity and Accurately Portray and Analyze Opposing Worldviews

Here are your professor's instructions for the types of resources that may be used:  Course textbooks may be used. In addition to these books, approximately 10 high-quality, scholarly sources must be used. A scholarly source is one that is published in print by an academic publisher, university, or scholarly society. Academic journal articles and printed books (or electronic books) are acceptable sources. Articles appearing on scholarly websites published and maintained by universities or scholarly societies (such as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) may be used; but generic websites (such as,, Wikipedia, personal websites, blogs, etc.) must not be used.

Given the nature of the assignment, you must consult and use several sources written from a perspective defending the worldview of your selected target audience. Liberty University’s online research tools can be used, which will provide full-text electronic copies of print sources.

The final section, "Citations," serves to assist you in correctly citing the information sources you use.  A sample paper is included.

As you begin, please refer to your assignment instructions and announcements from your instructor to be certain you use the appropriate resources. You also want to be aware of materials you are not allowed to use, such as Wikipedia, blogs, websites listed above, etc.  Use the Library resources.  Don't just Google your topic.

Please feel free to contact the Liaison Librarian using the contact information on the left  if you need additional research assistance.

Choosing Search Terms and Where to Look

You are allowed to choose one of four current worldviews.  You can use the terms listed below.

Worldview Choices:

  1. Scientific Naturalism  (Besides looking under "scientific naturalism" you can also look under just the word "naturalism")
  2. Secular Humanism
  3. Postmodernism
  4. Pantheism

Your first step in research is to gain a basic understanding of your worldview. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are good sources that summarize the basics of a worldview. A signed article found in a dictionary or encyclopedia is considered a scholarly source and is acceptable for this assignment. A signed article is an article written by a subject specialist who has an advanced degree. Below is an example of a signed article. You will see the specialist name at the end of the article.



from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology


Jean-Paul Sartre's complaint years ago that “existentialism” had been used for so many things that it was no longer meaningful could equally be said of “postmodernism” today. Often popularly applied to virtually anything that overturns traditional standards and is thus perceived to promote relativism (moral or otherwise), the term's standard history dates it back to the 1950s, when literature and architecture that broke modern conventions began to be called postmodern...

  • Ward, G. , ed., The Blackwell Companion to Postmodern TheologyGet It at Liberty
B. E. Benson

Here are some scholarly sources that access dictionaries or encyclopedias that may provide a basic overview on your worldview:

In addition to the above sources you may look for two other types of sources:

  • Books and/or Ebooks
  • Scholarly Journal Articles

For each source you use, be sure to be asking whether this source is written from the perspective of the worldview in question, or whether it is a refutation or Christian perspective critique of the worldview.  You ought to allow authors who hold the worldview to speak for themselves, rather than merely depending on opponents of the view to accurately reflect other's views and then refute them.

Some valuable information resources are still only available in print format.  Print books owned by the Jerry Falwell Library are accessible to you on campus or if you live off campus via interlibrary loan (ILL) services. Through ILL you may:

  • Request that items be checked out and mailed to your residence
  • Request pages in certain books be scanned and delivered to you electronically

To use these services, you must create an interlibrary loan account, which can be done from the ILL page.  If a particular journal article says that there is no immediate online access, you may also order this via interlibrary loan.

Please note: Be sure to allow sufficient time to have requests processed.


To find books, go to the "Find Resources" box on the library website, and click on "Books". Beneath the search box you will see that each format "Print," "E-book," and "Audiobook" has a checked box. The default is to search in all these formats. Click on the box next to the format you do not wish to search and remove the check mark.

As you look through the results, be on the lookout for noted scholars and reputable publishers (for the Christian perspective, these would include B&H, Baker, Eerdmans, IVP, Zondervan, etc.).

Please note: Because of publisher restrictions, immediate access to e-books is not guaranteed.  Other students may have a title "checked out."

Journal Articles

Click on this link to bring you to an Ebscohost search of Academic Search Complete and several of our religious and philosophical databases.  Enter your worldview and then skim the articles.

Ebscohost Religion, Philosophy, and Multidisciplinary Journal Search


You can also limit by other factors, including:

  • Full-text (This will only display articles that Ebsco has in full-text and will significantly reduce the number of results.  If you don't check this box, you will see "Get it @ Liberty" and you can see if the article is available in another of our databases, or order it via interlibrary loan.)
  • Publication date by using the slider or by entering the dates in the boxes
  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals by checking the box (You should check this box)

Remember, the more you limit, or if you add additional search words, the fewer your results.  Not all articles will be relevant to your topic.  Learn to skim the abstracts in the results lists to pick out applicable articles.



Always cite your sources, whether you summarize, paraphrase, or directly quote them. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense with serious consequences. Use the links below to help you create accurate citations.

Many online resources, including Ebsco databases, provide citation generators; however, these citations are machine-generated and must always be verified against the style manual.  Capitalization of titles is often an issue.

Suggestions from the Library Staff:

Be sure to use some dictionaries of theological terms, like those found on the Systematic Theology page. These will provide some helpful definitions and even some additional resources to track down.

Try some Philosophy Reference tools, like those mentioned on the left. Many of the primary advocates for a non-Christian worldview will be philosophers or they will borrow ideas from key philosophers. 

The following books are helpful for defining what a worldview is, laying out the components of a worldview, or examining (contrasting) the elements of various worldviews.

Having trouble with a search?

1. Try some Synonyms or some related subject terms. For example: Pantheism is often associated with Monism, Oneism, The New Age, Animism, certain forms of Mysticism, or Paganism. 

2. Look for suggestions by following any Footnotes, Endnotes, or a list Recommended Reading. Once you have located a Christian analysis of the opposing worldview, see which resources they used to demonstrate that worldview. Track some of those down. 

3. Find a primary source from a Proponent of the worldview you are examining. Search the main JFL page using this formula and insert the author's last and first names. author:("last, first")

4. Reach out to a Librarian for assistance and recommendations for further research!


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