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Research tools and sources on the subject of religion generally and specific religions

Religion (n):

"Religion is belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this belief, such as praying or worshiping in a building such as a church or temple. . . A religion is a particular system of belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this system."  Collins Dictionary

College of the Redwoods offers several classes in Philosophy, including one course in World Religions (Philosophy 15). While CR does not offer Associate Degrees for either Philosophy or Religion, these classes can help fulfill the requirements for other degree programs, including Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. In addition, many courses are transferable to the UC and/or CSU systems (check catalog for more details).  

Narrowing and Focusing Topics

BROAD TOPICS are generally phrases that describe a big idea or thing:

  • Gun control
  • Immigration
  • Global warming
  • Healthcare

RESTRICTED TOPICS may only be one part of the broad topic or they may link two different ideas.  In the examples below, “water pollution” is a particular type of pollution; “Nutrition and pregnancy” links the broad topic of nutrition with pregnancy to focus it.

NARROWED TOPICS give your research more focus.  In the examples below, “Pollution in San Francisco Bay” is still looking at “water pollution” – but only water pollution in a particular location.  “Commercial salmon fishing” is looking at the salmon fishing industry, rather than at sport fishing.

As you do your research, you need to ask very specific, focused questions to find out the information for your paper.

  • You will usually need to ask very specific, focused questions to find out the information for your paper.
  • Your questions should generally ask for facts, not opinions, (if your questions start with "Should", you're asking for an opinion!)
  • Remember:  Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

Who     =   People
What    =   Facts; causes and effects
When   =   Time
Where  =   Place(s) or geographical information
Why     =   Reasons
How     =   Methods (How many, How much = Statistics, amounts)

How to broaden, restrict, and focus research questions.

Broad Topic

Restricted Topic

Narrowed Topic

Focused Research Question #1

Focused Research Question #2

Pollution water pollution pollution in San Francisco Bay What is the most common pollutant in the bay? Where does the pollution come from?
Fishing salmon fishing commercial salmon fishing When can fisherman legally catch wild salmon? Why don't people only eat farm raised salmon?
Nutrition nutrition and pregnancy vegetarian diets and pregnancy How much protein does a pregnant woman need to eat daily? What foods will provide the most protein in a vegetarian diet?

Citation Styles

Always ask your instructor what citation style should be used for research projects. See below for links to helpful resources.

Call Numbers for Browsing

College of the Redwoods Library Call Numbers

Books in College of the Redwoods library are filed by the Library of Congress system that uses letter-number combinations assigned by subject, so that most books about the same subject will be filed together on the shelf. HSU Library uses this same system, and so do most colleges and universities in the United States. Browse the titles on the shelf in the sections listed below for research topics on religion.

  • B – Philosophy (General)
  • BD – Speculative philosophy / Hermeneutics
  • BL – Religions. Mythology. Rationalism (includes Hinduism, Shinto, etc.)
  • BM – Judaism
  • BP – Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc.
  • BQ – Buddhism
  • BR – Christianity
  • BS – The Bible
  • BT – Doctrinal Theology
  • BV – Practical Theology
  • BX – Christian Denomination

Humboldt County Library Call Numbers

Most County, or public libraries in the United States will use the Dewey Decimal system, which uses numbers, and each number section represents a subject, so that books about the same subject are filed together on the shelf. Below are listed some number sections that are relevant to topics for research on religions. Remember to also check the Juvenile or children's collection, the YA or Young Adult collection, and the Reference collection.

  • 200 Religion
  • 210 Philosophy & theory or religion
  • 220 The Bible
  • 230–230.7 Christianity & Christian theology
  • 231–239 Christianity & Christian theology
  • 240 Christian practice & observance
  • 250 Church pastoral practice & religious orders
  • 260 Church organization, social work & worship
  • 270 History of Christianity
  • 280 Christian denominations
  • 291–295 Comparative religion; Religions other than Christianity
  • 294.3 Buddhism
  • 296 Judaism
  • 297 Islam, Babism, Bahai Faith
  • 299 Other religions
  • 305.6 Religious groups
  • 322.1 Religious organizations & groups