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Theological Research for Beginners   Tags: research, writing  

A basic guide to theological research.
Last Updated: May 1, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Getting Started Print Page

About this Guide

About this Guide:

  • designed to help new theology students begin their studies
  • topics
    • Essential theological reference books.
    • How to find books in the library.
    • How to find articles on theological topics.
    • How to make the best use of the Internet in studying theology.
    • How to write theological papers.
    • How to cite sources.

Links to Resources:

  • Book titles link to Emory's DiscoverE catalog
  • Periodical titles link to online access page or to DiscoverE

Ask a librarian if you have any questions or need help.


How to Read a Book

What, you don't just start on page one and read every word until you get to the end?

If that's what you think, this book is for you—it will greatly enhance your theological education by giving you the tools to make better use of your reading time.

How to Read a Book

Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book (GENERAL PN83 .A43 1972)

An invaluable guide to academic reading. One to own.

Read a summary via the link below.


Starting Points

Available in the Durham Reading Room of Pitts Theology Library

Consider acquiring your own copies as funds allow—these volumes will provide the foundation for a lifetime of study.

We've also created a small booklet of the reference sources we find ourselves turning to most.  You can view and download a copy of your own below.

Cover Art
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church - F. L. Cross (Editor); Elizabeth A. Livingstone
Call Number: REFERENCE BR95 .O8 2005
ISBN: 0192802909
Publication Date: 2005-09-08
--starting point for almost any topic--brief articles give an overview of the subject--excellent bibliographies

Cover Art
The Encyclopedia of Christianity - ed. Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley
Call Number: REFERENCE BR95 .E8913 1999
--five-volume set
--lengthy articles with global perspective and good bibliographies
--excellent coverage of historical topics
--good for in-depth orientation to a subject

Cover Art
The HarperCollins Bible Commentary - ed. James Luther Mays
Call Number: REFERENCE BS491.2 .H37 2000
--quick overview of a biblical book or passage
--other options
The Oxford Bible Commentary (REFERENCE BS491.3 .O94 2001)
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (REFERENCE BS491.2 .N485 1990)
Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (REFERENCE BS491.3 .E37 2003)
Anchor Bible Dictionary (REFERENCE BS440 .A54 1992)

Cover Art
The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought - ed. Adrian Hastings et al.
Call Number: REFERENCE BR95 .O94 2000
--orientation to any theological topic
--lengthy articles on range of material

Cover Art
The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics - ed. James F. Childress and John Macquarrie
Call Number: REFERENCE BJ1199 .W47 1986
--orientation to Christian ethical issues
--short articles, some bibliographies

Cover Art
The New SCM Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship - ed. Paul F. Bradshaw
Call Number: REFERENCE BV173 .N49 2002
--all things liturgical
--broad coverage of traditions and subjects. --short articles, some bibliographies

Cover Art
Concise Encyclopedia of Preaching - Richard Lischer and William H. Willimon
Call Number: REFERENCE BV4211.2 .C583 1995
--articles range in size and depth
--includes biographical profiles of historical figures

Cover Art
Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling - ed. Rodney J. Hunter and Nancy J. Ramsay
Call Number: REFERENCE BV4011.3 .D53 2005
--encyclopedic coverage of pastoral theory and practice
--bibliographies and cross references


Frequently Used Print (and equivalent electronic) Resources

This is an annotated list of some of the reference resources we use most frequently in assisting library patrons.  There are, however, plenty of other useful resources, so please ask us for additional resources related to your particular project!

Note: Location is Pitts Theology Library REFERENCE unless otherwise indicated.


Quick References

Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary (3rd ed.) - James T. Bretzke, S.J.
Call Number: REFERENCE: BX841. B68 2013
Publication Date: 2013
Have you ever run across a Latin phrase in your reading and aren't sure what it means? This dictionary provides listings and definitions of Latin phrases commonly used in theological writings, including entries for the Latin titles of many church documents.

Subject Guide

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Tracy Powell Iwaskow
Contact Info
Head of Public Services and Periodicals Librarian
Periodicals Room, Pitts Theology Library
ph. 404.727.1221
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