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Religious Studies

Useful information for research in the subject of religious studies

Narrowing Your Research Topic

a) state your research query in a complete, clear sentence
What are the similarities and differences between Sunni and Shia Islam? I'm specifically interested in these denominations in Saudi Arabia.

b) identify the concepts in your research query
Sunni and Shia and Saudi Arabia

c) think of related terms (connected by or) which might also describe your concepts
(salat or hadith or hijab) and (Shiism or Sufism)

d) apply special features and put together your statement
(salat or hadith or hijab) and (Shiism* or Sufism*)

Special Features to Use During Your Search

  • use a wildcard whenever appropriate; the wildcard character is usually an asterisk
    example: Jew* will retrieve Jews, Judaism, Jewish, etc.
  • Beware the "phrase-searching trap"! In many databases, such as those provided through EBSCO, putting all your search terms in one box only brings back exact matches to that phrase.
  • full text may be available in another database, so be sure to click on the "Check for Full Text" link while searching

Aren't Finding Enough?

  • check for typos, not all databases have automatic spell check
  • add related terms using or
    example: (persecution or expulsion or conversions*)
  • remove a concept
    example: "Jewish persecution" and (expulsion or conversions*) and (massacre* or hatred*)

Finding Too Much?

  • add another concept using and
    example: "Jewish persecution" and expulsion and conversions and violence*
  • limit your terms to more specific fields
    example: subject, title, abstract

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