Pathfinder: Religion Resources



How to Find Books in the WPCC Library

Clip art of a Bible and a crossUse our library catalog, found at one of our catalog terminals near the library entrance or online here. By default, the catalog opens to a simple keyword search.  If you want to search by a specific title or author, choose the browse search mode under the “search” key at top of page.  Try different keywords if your first search does not bring up any relevant results.  There is great value in browsing the shelf area where you have found a relevant book.  Look in the section of the shelves marked “BL” through “BX” to find books specifically about religion.

Selected Reference Books

Clip art of a Menorah and scrollThe works listed here are of a general nature, covering a number of religions. For reference works about a particular religion, browse the reference shelves, BL through BX, or use the online catalog.

  • Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (REF BL 31 .E44)
    This work is dated (it was published between 1924 and 1927), but it is useful for the history of religion and ethics, comparative studies, and the definition of philosophical terms. The last volume is a comprehensive index.
  • The Encyclopedia of American Religions (REF BL 2525 .M449)
    This source describes 1,200 churches separately, not in themed articles, as found in The Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience. The churches are grouped into families (introductory material for each family is included), then into further subdivisions. This source is only up-to-date through 1978.
  • The Encyclopedia of Religion (REF BL 31 .E461987)
    This work is good to use simultaneously with the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics because there are many entries that do not overlap between the two works. Entries are cross-referenced, and bibliographies of further reading are included. There is an index in the final volume.
  • The Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience (REF BL 2525 .E53 1988)
    This functions as a series ofthemed articles about various aspects of religion in North America (although there is an emphasis on the United States). The tables of contents in all three volumes show the full scope of the work, and there is a comprehensive index contained in the third volume.
  • The Encyclopedia of World Faiths (REF BL 80.2 E495 1988)
    This work gives an introduction to the world’s major fai ths as well as an introduction to religion itself. There is a heavy emphasis on Christianity. Included are a bibliography of further reading organized by faith, a basic glossary, and a brief index.


Where to Look for Online Periodical Articles

Clip art of a religious artifactIMPORTANT: If you want to access these resources off campus, you will use the same username and password  you use to log in to any campus computer.

There are two main groups of online databases offered by the library: NCLIVE and the Academic OneFile. To access the databases, click on the links for each one.


NCLIVE provides access to more than 60 databases. Some are general, covering a wide range of material, and some are subject-specific. A few good places to begin your search are:

  • Proquest Religion Database
  • SIRS Renaissance


These databases contain full-text articles on many topics, including religion, from several thousand magazines and journals.

Thompson Gale Academic OneFile Database

The Academic OneFile database provides access to citations, abstracts, and full text articles relating to a wide variety of disciples, including the study of religion.

Online periodicals include:

  • Journal of Religion
  • Journal of Religious History
  • Journal for the Studies of Religions and Ideologies


Internet Sources

Extreme care must be taken when using sources off the World Wide Web for a research paper. Critically
evaluate all the sites you are considering, looking for reputable authorship, a date of publication, and authority.

    Statistics (complete with the source from which the statistics were taken and the year the source was published) regarding membership for numerous religions and denominations.
  • Hartford Institute for Religion Research
    This site states, “We do not directly address theological or biblical questions, rather we study the social scientific dynamics of religious organizations.” Contains relevant articles and links to outside sites.
  • Virtual Religion Index
    This site is designed to advance research in matters of religion. It contains a well-organized list of links.


updated 10/2017

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