Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Research Guides

The Archabbey Library has compiled the following information to help with academic research and writing.

 

Guide to Finding Articles

Here are some ways to access journal articles through Archabbey Library. Print versions of some journals can be found in the periodicals section of the library. Others can be accessed in full-text versions through our online databases. If you discover an article you want and the library does not subscribe to the journal, electronically or in print, you can order the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Searching for Articles
The best place to begin searching for articles is an index. Online indexes are usually preferable to print indexes, because they are updated more frequently and you can search across a number of years, keywords and subjects. Print indexes must be searched one year at a time and are usually organized by assigning a single subject classification for each article. The online indexes that are probably most helpful are the following:

  • Academic Search Premier. Online database citations, abstracts and full-text articles. Indexes over 10,000 journals from all academic disciplines, including more than 500 in religion and philosophy, most of which are available full-text.
  • ATLA Religion Database with ALTASerials. Online index accessed through EBSCOhost. Contains over one million bibliographic citations to journal articles, essays in books and book reviews in the field of religion. Contains some full-text access to articles.
  • Catholic Periodical and Literature Index. Online through EBSCOhost and in print. Indexes periodicals, books, newspapers, and papal documents dealing expressly with the practice of Catholic faith and life. Online begins with 1981. For pre-1981 literature, consult print edition in Indexes, call number: Ref. AI3.C3.
  • New Testament Abstracts. Online through EBSCOhost and in print. Online edition begins with 1985. Sources are both journal articles and books. Print edition begins in 1956 and is found in the Archabbey Library Periodicals collection.
  • Old Testament Abstracts. Online through EBSCOhost and in print. Begins in 1978. Sources are predominantly journal articles but also include books, essays and software. Print edition is shelved in Reference, call number: Ref. BS410.O42.
  • JSTOR. These collections contain a wealth of full-text articles on religion and theology, Church history, art, architecture, and music, as well as classical languages and literature.
  • The Philosopher’s Index.  A current and comprehensive bibliographic database covering scholarly research in all major fields of philosophy.  It indexes research published since 1940 including nearly 570 journals from 43 countries.

How to Log on to Databases
On campus: If you are on campus, go to the library’s online catalog and click on the “Database” button and choose the database you want.

Off campus:  If you are off campus, click on the “Catalog” link and then click on “Databases.” You will be asked for the 14-digit barcode number from your Archabbey Library card. Click on the EBSCOhost icon and you will see a list of databases. Once you have clicked on a specific database, you may be asked for a user ID and a password. The user ID is your library barcode and your password is your last name. If you have trouble logging on, call the library at (800) 987-7311 for help.

Searching Tips
EBSCOhost  databases can be searched in a number of ways. The advanced search window offers more search options. To begin a search, you can do a keyword search, which is the default, or a subject search. Once you find a citation on your subject, open the full record and look at the “subjects” category. Each of the listed subjects is hyperlinked to other articles on the same subject. This is a good way to find other articles on your topic.

Locating Articles
If you find an article you would like to read, it may be available in a full-text electronic version. If it is, it will say so below the citation. You can simply click on the link and get the article.

If the article is not available online, the first place to turn is to the Archabbey Library online catalog. Use the “Search” function rather than the “Quick Search.” Limit your search to “Serials” using the dropdown box for “Formats.” Search using the journal title.

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If Archabbey Library subscribes to the journal, you will get the catalog record. This record will tell you what years and volumes of the journal the library has. If you are a distance student, the library staff will copy the article for you and send it to you by U.S. mail or fax. There may be a cost for copying and mailing.

If Archabbey Library does not have the article you are looking for, you can order it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). The Archabbey Library will get a copy of the article from another library and send or fax it to you. Request forms for ILL are in the library by the New Book Shelf. ILL orders are handled by Mary Ellen Seifrig. You can e-mail a request to her on the Interlibrary Loan Page. Include the titles of the journal and the article, as well as the date, volume and issue numbers, page numbers and author.

Resources for Theological Research

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias and Handbooks
The following is a highly selective list of recent reference sources that contain short entries and articles on theological ideas, terminology, religious figures, practice and doctrine. Entries with "dictionary" in the title tend to have shorter entries and to focus more on terminology.

Those with "encyclopedia" in the title tend to have longer entries on a wider range of topics. Both frequently have signed articles by prominent scholars and bibliographies of important literature.

In addition to the general sources listed below, Archabbey Library has numerous, more specialized reference sources like these on narrower topics, such as: angels, the early Church, Islam, Judaism, Coptic Christianity, monasticism, patristics and saints. To find these, consult the library catalog or ask a librarian.

  • New Catholic Encyclopedia,  2nd ed. This resource can be accessed online or in print.  The online version can be found by clicking on the "reference" tab of the library's main page. The print version is in the Reference section of the library, call number: Ref. BX841.N44 2003. 15 volumes. This is a basic resource for all subjects relating to Catholicism and Catholic theology. 
  • Oxford Reference Online. The is a general online reference database. It contains a number of dictionaries and encyclopedias in religion, theology and Church history. It can be found under the "Reference" tab of the library's main page.
  • The Catholic Encyclopedia. First edition of the 15-volume Catholic Encyclopedia (1907-1913) made available online by New Advent. Some of the scholarship is dated, but many articles are still useful.
  • Dictionary of Fundamental Theology. Ed. by René Latourelle. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1994. Call number: Ref. BT1102.D5813 1994. One volume. In-depth articles by major scholars on figures, ideas, schools and movements in Christian theology. Each article has a bibliography.
  • The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism. Ed. by Richard P. O'Brien, et al. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995. Call number: Ref. BX841.H37 1995. One volume. Short articles on figures, events, movements, ideas and institutions, with longer articles on some theological issues.
  • The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought. Ed. by Adrian Hastings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Call number: Ref. BR95.O94 2000. One volume. Entries by prominent scholars on theological, spiritual and moral aspects of Christianity. Each entry has a short bibliography.
  • The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed. Ed. by E.A. Livingstone. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Call number: Ref. BR95 .O8 1997. One volume. A good first source. Entries on figures, events, practices, terms and movements. Most entries have a short bibliography.
  • World Christian Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. Ed. by David B. Barrett et. al. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Call number: Ref. BR95.W67 2001. Two volumes. A comparative and statistical survey of churches and Christian denominations in the contemporary world. Organized by country, region, language, institutions, etc.

Indexes and Databases
The following indexes and databases are available through Archabbey Library. Some are available in print, some are online, others are on CD and are searchable on computers in the Library, and some are available in more than one format. Two online indexes, Academic Search Elite and ATLASerials, provide full-text access to some of the articles indexed.

  • EBSCOhost databases. Includes Academic Search Premier, which contains citations, abstracts and full-text articles. Indexes over 10,000 journals from all academic disciplines, including more than 500 in religion and philosophy, most of which are available full-text.
  • ATLA Religion Database with ALTASerials. Online index accessed through EBSCOhost. Contains over one million bibliographic citations to journal articles, essays in books and book reviews in the field of religion. Contains abstracts for some articles and some full-text access to articles.
  • Catholic Periodical and Literature Index. Online through EBSCOhost and in print. Indexes periodicals, books, newspapers and papal documents dealing expressly with the practice of Catholic faith and life. Online begins with 1981. For pre-1981 literature, consult print edition in Indexes, call number: Ref. AI3.C3.
  • ETHX on the Web. Index of journal articles, book chapters, bills, laws, court decisions, reports, books, audio-visuals and news articles relating to bioethics and professional ethics.
  • New Testament Abstracts. Online through EBSCOhost and in print. Online edition begins with 1985. Sources are both journal articles and books. Print edition begins in 1956 and is found in the Archabbey Library Periodicals collection.
  • Old Testament Abstracts. Online through EBSCOhost and in print. Begins in 1978. Sources are predominantly journal articles but also include books, essays and software. Print edition is shelved in Reference, call number: Ref. BS410.O42.
  • JSTOR These collections contain a wealth of full-text articles on religion and theology, Church history, art, architecture and music, as well as classical languages and literature.
  • Oxford Reference Online. Oxford Reference Online brings together language and subject reference works from Oxford University Press into a single cross-searchable resource. It contains dictionaries of religion, the saints, popes, and many other topics in theology and religion.

Useful Internet Sources
There are many open access online sources for both primary and secondary literature in theology. Here are a few of the more reliable sources of high-quality literature and scholarly tools such as Bible concordances.

  • BibleGateway.com A concordance and subject search engine for a large array of Bible translations in many languages, including 21 English versions. A concordance is an alphabetical list of all the words in a work. A biblical concordance can be used to locate a known biblical passage or to learn how a particular word or phrase is used throughout the Bible.
  • Christian Classics Ethereal Library. A good source for the writings of Church Fathers and classic Christian writers. It also has numerous editions of the Bible in original languages, multiple English versions, as well as other modern language versions.
  • Corpus Thomisticum.  A site devoted to the study of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. It contains a Latin edition of his complete works, bibliographies of secondary literature, links to works about St. Thomas and modern language translations of St. Thomas' writings. It also has a very useful online concordance, Index Thomisticus,which allows electronic word searching in St. Thomas' writings.
  • Crosswalk.com A concordance for 27 different English translations of the Bible. It also allows searching two English translations using Strong's Concordance, which searches using the root form of the Greek or Hebrew word from which words in the English were translated.
  • Textes des Philosophes Provides links to web pages about individual philosophers and philosophical theologians as well as links to online editions of their writings.
  • Wabash Center Internet Guide to Religion A selective, annotated guide to a wide variety of electronic resources of interest to those who are involved in the study and practice of religion: syllabi, electronic texts, electronic journals, websites, bibliographies, liturgies, reference resources, software, etc.

Resources for Academic Writing

Students at Saint Meinrad are expected to explore ideas in a variety of writing assignments. These range from personal reflections to scriptural exegesis to research essays. Many of these assignments will require the writing to be in the style and format commonly expected in formal academic writing. This guide is designed to help you find resources that will guide you through the academic writing process.

Expectations for Academic Writing
The most common expectation of academic writing is that it will be argumentative. In this context, “argumentative” means the writing is meant to establish a thesis. A “thesis statement” should be prominently featured in the introduction.

Each part of the essay should be devoted to discussing the meaning and implications of the thesis or to providing support for the thesis. The whole of a piece of writing should have unity of purpose, that is, every section, paragraph, sentence and footnote should clearly have an important role in supporting the thesis.

For the most part, there is not much difference between writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The major difference is that graduate essays usually include a survey of literature already written on the subject. So, you must place the essay’s thesis in the context of past and current scholarly opinion and more thoroughly document the claims than you did for undergraduate essays.

These Web sites offer general advice on academic writing and on specific essay formats:

  • Argument, The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
    This is an account of the nature of “arguments” and some strategies about how to develop them.
  • Writing in College: A Short Guide to College Writing, by Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney.
    This guide, aimed at undergraduate writing, has advice valid for all levels of academic writing.
  • Writer’s Handbook, The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    A good general guide to the whole writing process, including creating an argument.
  • Writing the Religion Paper, Dartmouth Writing Program. 
    Provides advice on different kinds of essays you might have to write on religious topics.

These guides to academic writing can be found in the Reserve/Reference area of the Archabbey Library:

  • Kirszner and Mandell, The Holt Handbook. Call number: Ref. PE1408.K675 2002b. This is a general guide for all aspects of the writing process.
  • James S. Stramel, How to Write a Philosophy Paper. Call number: Reserve B52.S84 1995. A brief guide to argumentative essay writing that works for more than just philosophy.

Using the Right Format
Academic disciplines usually have a style for written work that is accepted and expected throughout the discipline. For example, writing in psychology and education is generally formatted in APA (American Psychological Association) style; English generally uses MLA (Modern Language Association) style. A common style for writing about history, theology and philosophy is the Chicago style, sometimes referred to as Chicago/Turabian.

While considerations of style may seem trivial, they are not. Common stylistic formatting allows readers to spend their time engaging your ideas, rather than trying to figure out what you are saying or how you are trying to document your work. Like commonly accepted conventions for spelling, grammar and punctuation, stylistic conventions help rather than hinder clear expression.

Information about academic styles can be easily found on the Web. To find out how to formulate a reference to an article accessed through an electronic database using Chicago style, a search on Google or Yahoo! using the words “citation database Chicago style” will return many examples from summaries prepared by college and university libraries and writing centers.

These Web sites give examples of the basics for various citation styles:

These guides to various styles can be found in the Reference area of Archabbey Library:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. Call number: Ref. Z253.U69 2003.
  • Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th edition. Call number: Ref. LB2369.G53 1999.
  • Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6thedition. Call number: Ref. LB2369.T8 1996.