Methods in the Study of Religion

Tynkänen, Wikimedia Commons


Guide to Finding
the Best Resources


Personal Librarian:
Lois Coleman
306C Lehman Hall

Getting Started

  • Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective information research in religion.
  • If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation. 

Major Religious Studies Databases

  • ATLA Religion Database: abstracts for articles in periodicals and collections of essays in religion and theology; book reviews are also included.
  • Index Islamicus: index of journals, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, websites, and other materials in European languages as well as Turkish, Malay, and Indonesian, on all aspects of Islamic history, culture, law, art, and philosophy.
  • Index to Jewish Periodicals: indexes English-language articles and book reviews in periodicals devoted to Jewish affairs.
  • New Testament Abstracts: abstracts for articles in journals and books relating to the Gospels and related literature.
  • Old Testament Abstracts: abstracts for articles in journals and books relating to the Hebrew Bible.
  • Religious and Theological Abstracts: abstracts for articles, many of them interdisciplinary, in scholarly journals of religion and theology.

Other Useful Resources

  • American Religion Data Archive (ARDA): provides data on religious groups and affiliations in the United States.
  • America, History and Life: large scholarly database; enables searching by time period.
  • L'année philologique: indexes periodical articles as well as articles in collections and conference papers in classics and classical studies; useful for researching early Christianity.
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index: multidisciplinary database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities.
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies: index to articles and other published materials on all fields of Asian Studies. 
  • Catholic Periodical and Literature Index: indexes articles published in Roman Catholic periodicals, Papal documents, church promulgations, and books about the Catholic faith that are authored by Catholics or produced by Catholic publishers.
  • Encyclopedia of Islam: online reference tool covering the Islamic world.
  • Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures: covers women and the civilizations and societies in which Islam has played a historic role.
  • Historical Abstracts: provides citations to journal articles on all aspects of world history from 1450 to the present. Journals included date back to 1955. Selected books are also available in full text.
  • Humanities Full Text: covers noted scholarly sources in the humanities, as well as lesser known specialized magazines.
  • Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: journals in the humanities and social sciences from 1907-1983.
  • JSTOR: includes page images of key scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences, including many articles from Middle East Studies journals, from the first issue of the journal up until 3 to 5 years ago.
  • Philosopher's Index: covers the major fields of philosophy, including aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of related fields such as education, history, law and religion.
  • Proquest: multidisciplinary database with thousands of scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers and dissertations.
  • Religious Studies subject guide: research guide from Columbia University Libraries.
  • Routledge Religion Resource: a collection of reference works, mostly handbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias, in the area of religion.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index: multidisciplinary database covering the journal literature of the social sciences.
  • Sociological Abstracts: abstracts for articles in sociology journals, including many on the sociology of religion, religion and society, etc.
  • World Christian database: includes detailed information on 9,000 Christian denominations and on religions in every country of the world.
  • World Religion Database: international religious demographic statistics and sources, containing detailed statistics on religious affiliation for every country of the world.

Finding Books

  • CLIO Catalog - Online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library and the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library.
  • JTS: The online catalog of the Jewish Theological Seminary Library.
  • Religion call number range: BL
  • For primary sources use keywords:
    • archives
    • correspondence
    • diaries
    • interviews
    • narratives
    • memoirs
    • sources