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RSOC 51: Religion in America (Wright)

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Finding Background Info

You can use the sources below to explore ideas and topics at the beginning of your research process, and you can use them throughout the process to quickly learn about a topic, event, phenomenon, or proper name you encounter during your research process.

Most encyclopedias and dictionaries that provide background information are not scholarly in that they are not long sources and do not contain works cited, but they are more credible than finding information on the internet.

Also, some of the sources below are very specialized to your research projects and field work, so they may present topics and ideas you had not considered, but are important for the rhetoric of your project.

Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center has a great portal on religion that communicates poll results from studies conducted by the Center.

Public Religion Research Institution (PRRI)


Encyclopedias are a great way to find a topic that interests you by browsing, and they are a great way to brush up on basic details about a topic in a venue other than Wikipedia.

Additional Resources

Keyword combinations


Try searching for background information as well as browsing these resources. Here are some ideas for keyword search terms you can use in OSCAR or any of the Library's databases.

  • (name of religion) and (cultural phenomenon)
  • religion and (concept, i.e. family)
  • (name of religion) and (specific population, i.e. queers or women)
  • (name of religion) and (geographical location, i.e. san jose or california)
  • (name of religion) and (united states or america) and (other keyword)