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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 Karen Marotz, Head, Belzberg Library at 778.782.5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
- Adherents.com - religious statistics for specific countries, states, provinces and specific religious groups.
- Encyclopedia of Religion - presents a cross-cultural approach that emphasizes religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture.
- Religious Statistics - from the Andover-Harvard Theological Library
- Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy - over 2,000 articles covering world philosophies and religions.
- Statistics Canada - key source for Canadian statistics including Religion.
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
- ARC: Alliance of religions and conservation - helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices.
- Internet guide to religion - from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.
- Iona-Pacific - Inter-Religious Centre for Social Action, Research and Contemplative Practice at the Vancouver School of Theology; links to the VST Library.
- Pluralism Project - based at Harvard University, this website includes useful links to research organizations, interfaith organizations, religious organizations engaged in social action and organizations by religious tradition.
- Religion-online.org - over 6,000 articles and chapters by recognized religious scholars on topics including liberation theology, environment, war and peace, poverty, and other social issues.
- Virtual Religion Index - Meta-site that analyzes and highlights content from religion-related websites.
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.
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.