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Religion & Philosophy Research Guide: RLGN 301 - Research & Writing

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


Building upon the video about using the Jerry Falwell Library website and serving as a supplement to the tutorial about online theological research, this course research guide is intended to help you with your RLGN 301 course assignments by providing tailored directions for using the library and its resources, and by pointing you to recommended resources.

After a quick note on interlibrary loan services, the page is organized by the format of the information sources you may need:

  • Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
  • Books/Commentaries
  • Journal Articles

The final section, "Citations," serves to assist you in correctly citing the information sources you use.

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, etc.

Please feel free to contact me if you need additional research assistance.

Interlibrary Loan

Some valuable information resources are still only available in print format, including key theological dictionaries and commentaries. However, the physical materials owned by the Jerry Falwell Library are accessible to you 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.

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

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

These resources are ideal for providing an overview of key terms and concepts and an introduction to disciplinary vocabulary. Not only do they orient you to a topic, but they can also lead you to additional resources.

The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament(TDOT) and the Theological Dictionary of the New Testamnet (TDNT) are only available in print; however, you can gain access to content within this resource by using the library's interlibrary loan service. Select articles can be scanned and delivered to you digitally. 

Books and Commentaries

To locate commentaries on any book of the Bible, click on "Books" under "Finding Resources" on the JFL webpage.

Because of newly-implemented cataloging changes in describing commentaries, I recommend searching for them using a specific pattern. If you are looking for commentaries on Acts, use the search Bible Acts commentaries, where Acts can be substituted for any book of the Bible, and be sure to select JFL Catalog from the dropdown menu before searching. Note that books with an ordinal number are formatted according to the following example: Bible Corinthians, 2nd commentaries. On the next page, now within the catalog, click the Edit this Search button. Change the dropdown from All Fields to Subject and click Search Now. You can limit to e-commentaries by clicking the link to the right under Refine Results labelled: add filter: Electronic Resources.

As you look through the results, be on the lookout for noted scholars (Bock, Marshall, Stott, etc.) and reputable publishers (B&H, Baker, Eerdmans, IVP, Zondervan, etc.).

Please note: Because of publisher restrictions, immediate access to e-books is not guaranteed.

Journal Articles

The premier database for locating religious and theological journal content is Atla Religion with AtlaSerials Plus. This resource has a unique search feature that can help you quickly locate relevant articles based on a Bible passage, for example: Acts 1:8, Acts 4:12, etc.. This "drill-down" search is labeled "Scriptures" and is located in the blue ribbon at the top of the page.

This initial search can be combined with other search terms to further narrow results. In the example below, a search on Acts 6 was combined with a truncated term, deacon* (this symbol will retrieve variant endings to the base, e.g. deacons, deaconness, etc.), and a common related term, diaconate. They were combined with OR so that either term could appear in the result list.

You can also limit by other factors, including:

  • Publication date by using the slider or by entering the dates in the boxes
  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals by checking the box
  • Language by clicking the link, "Show More"
  • Document type by clicking the link, "Show More"

Remember, the more you limit, the fewer your results.

To view the search pictured below, click here.



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 ATLA Religion, provide citation generators; however, these citations are machine-generated and must always be verified against the style manual.