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World Religion

This guide supports research assignments for World Religion classes, as well as any other classes that include research about world religious traditions.

How to Use This Guide

Photo of Pagoda in Taiwan

For many Comparative/World Religion topics, books can be the best type of source. There are three different types of books linked to this guide:

  • Sacred Books:  the actual religious texts (examples: Qur'an; Bible)
  • Background information: mostly academic encyclopedias
  • Books : "regular" print  books and ebooks that go into more depth on a topic

For other types of sources, check out the Databases link.

Tips for Research & Scholarly Writing

Would you give your source a 5-star rating?

Author or Publisher

What can you find out about the person or group who either created the information or is making it available?


Who is the intended audience for this information? What level of education, background knowledge, or experience is expected?


Does the source contain facts, statistics, or other data to support the ideas and provide evidence for claims? Is there a References, Works Cited, or other Bibliography?


Why has the information been made available? What tone or attitude is used in the presentation of the information?


What is happening historically, socially, and culturally at the time of the source's publication? How does the information in this source compare with other sources covering the same topic?


Try these to get more specific or broader results

Wild Card

  • Use a * to include forms or variants of words in your search
  • Example: type test* to search for test, testing, tests

Adding a ~

  • Adding a tilde (~) to your search term will return related terms.
  • Example: ~nutrition will search also nutrition, food and health

Adding a -

  • Adding a negative (-) to your search term will take away that term in your search.
  • Example: Pets -cats will not find web sites that focus upon cats as pets.

Phrase Search

  • By inserting quotes around an exact phase, you will search only the words you type in, in that exact order with no words in between term.
  • Example: "consumer product chemistry"

Boolean Operators

  • Using AND, OR, NOT can broaden or narrow a search depending on your inquiry. "AND" will give you results that contain both words. "OR" will give results about either word and "NOT" will not search the term preceding.
  • Example: Summer AND Flower, Summer OR Flower, Summer NOT flower

Definition: In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledg­ing its source. While some types of writing aren't as concerned with documenting sources, ideas, images, sounds, etc. traditional academic writing requires these best practices.

How to Tell if You are Plagiarizing Flowhart (text below))

How to tell if you are plagiarizing

Are my own words being used?

  • If yes, Is it my idea?
    • If Yes, Yay! You're not plagiarizing!
    • If No, You're paraphrasing. Add a citation and bibliography!
  • If No, Are you using quotation marks or placing it in a block quote?
    • If Yes, If Yes, Yay! You're not plagiarizing!
    • If No, You're plagiarizing! Add a citation and bibliography!

Sources: and owl.english.purdue.ed