Religion, Spirituality, Contemplative Inquiry and Social Action: Semester in Dialogue

Belzberg Library welcomes students in the Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue to SFU Vancouver. This guide will help you to use our library to find research material for this topic. If you have any further questions about library services, please contact Ebony Magnus, Head, Belzberg Library at 778.782.5054 or

Research Sources for Religion, Spirituality, Contemplative Inquiry and Social Action

Library research involves selecting your topic, identifying the best sources and appropriate research tools, accessing the items found and evaluating your results. Start Your Research Here is a brief guide that will help you with this process.

Books, articles and websites on your course reading list or course outline can also provide a good starting point, particularly if the items include bibliographies, references or links to related material.

Books, ebooks, films, music, sound, slides

Search the catalogue to find all books, reports and media materials in the SFU Library at all three campuses (Belzberg - Vancouver; Bennett - Burnaby; Fraser- SFU Surrey).

  • Searching by KEYWORD is generally the best way to start. Once you have found some good results with your keyword searches, use the subjects on those items to focus your search.
  • Try the following SUBJECT headings:
    • Church and social problems
    • see also Religion and social problems and specific religions, eg. Judaism and social problems
    • Economic development - religious aspects
    • Human ecology - religious aspects
    • Human rights - religious aspects
    • Indigenous peoples - religion
    • Nature - religious aspects
    • Peace - religious aspects
    • Social action
    • Spirituality - social aspects
    • see also specific religions, eg. Islam - social aspects

If the item is not available at Belzberg Library, or is out on loan, please request it!

For a step-by-step interactive guide to searching the SFU catalogue, see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.

Journal and Newspaper Articles

Connect to Journal Articles and Databases to find articles in academic journals, trade magazines, reports and newspapers, as well as financial and statistical data. Many indexes provide online access to the full text of the articles or allow you to directly request copies of articles through the "Where Can I Get This?" link. Browse by subject area to identify useful databases for your topic.

Suggested article databases for Religion and Social Action

  • Academic Search Premier - multidisciplinary index to academic and popular journals.
  • Alternative Press Index - alternative and radical media, including concepts such as "radical theology".
  • ATLA Religion Database - produced by the American Theological Library Association, it covers topics such as biblical studies, world religions, church history, and religion in social issues.
  • Canadian Newsstream - Full text of nearly 300 newspapers from Canada's leading publishers, including the Globe & Mail and the National Post, as well as local papers such as the Vancouver Sun, the Province, Vancouver Courier, and the Burnaby Now.
  • Canadian Electronic Library - publications from policy and research institutes, think tanks, advocacy groups, government agencies and university research centres.
  • CBCA Complete (Canadian Business and Current Affairs) - covers news, business, and academic sources with a Canadian focus.
  • Environment Complete - major database on environmental topics including the intersection of religion and environment.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Index - multidisciplinary index including religion and theology.
  • Philosopher's Index - the premier international resource in philosophy, including ethics.
  • Sociological Abstracts - major database for sociology.
  • Web of Science - multidisciplinary source that includes Arts and Humanities Citation Index covering religion. It also includes cited reference searches.

Try the same subject terms as suggested for books, or check the thesaurus or list of subject terms within the database. For help with searching databases, check Finding Journal Articles and/or Moving From Citation to Article.

For books and articles not online or at SFU, request an Interlibrary Loan.

Statistics and reference sources

Selected internet sources

In addition to the library catalogue and databases, you will find a lot of good information on the web. Governments, research institutes, non-profit organizations, industry and other associations and companies all have websites - many with publications freely available.

Check the library's Internet Research guide for additional help in finding and evaluating websites.

Useful sites for religion and social action

Research guides for related subjects

Research guides are produced by SFU liaison librarians to point you to the best external sources as well as providing information about publications available in the library. Try these guides for further suggestions.

Ask us!

If you would like any further assistance or information about the library or your research, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian in person, by phone, email or interactive reference.