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REL 244: Christians and Nazis

Spring 2011
Doing Research

With so many information sources available online and in print, simply finding information usually isn't the issue. The true research problem lies in finding quality information sources that are appropriate for your topic. Take time to think critically about your research during this entire semester. Have you utilized the best sources for your topic? Do you have a grasp of the literature in your field? Have you thoroughly explored the nuances of your topic and supporting sources? This approach will not only be useful in this class, it will be invaluable as you head into the workforce or further graduate study. As always, give yourself enough time to do your research and have fun with your topics and the places they're taking you!

Using Sources Effectively

Effective research encompasses so much more than simply locating books and articles that relate to your topic. Those books and articles are the jumping off point for your research - they are an invitation to enter the scholarly conversation. Read until you understand the argument the author is making. Consider how the author discusses other literature on the topic. Mine the footnotes and references to locate other sources appropriate for your topic. Above else, constantly ask yourself how your research fits into previous research on the topic. How does your research address the ongoing conversation about the topic?

Julie Gilbert
Mary Solberg

Table of Contents:

Reference Books
Reference books are an indispensable information source. Use them to gain overviews of your topics, which will help you narrow your topic and give you good ideas for search terms. Many reference books also have recommendations for further reading, which can provide you with additional sources. I've listed a few individual titles and am also directing you to the more comprehensive lists on the History and Religion discipline pages.
  • Resources for Religion

    Consult the Resources for Religion guide (above) for many other reference titles. Reference books are shelved on the west side of the library's main floor.
  • Resources for History

    Due to the historical context of the course, you may also find some of the resources on the History page also useful.
  • Atlas of Nazi Germany
    Maps, charts, and other visually-displayed data dealing with all aspects of the Nazi regime.
    • Location(s): Ref DD 256.5 .F73354 1987
  • Encyclopedia of Religion
    Covers religions from around the world and through history as well as people and ideas related to religion. The articles are written by experts in their fields and include excellent bibliographies. This new edition includes hundreds of new articles, thoroughly revised coverage of all topics in religion, and a handful of "visual essays" that illustrate visual culture as a significant aspect of religion.
    • Location(s): Ref BL 31 .E46 2005
  • Encyclopedia of Protestantism
    Covers creeds, cultural and social issues, important people and institutions, theology, and the diverse traditions and faith groups that make up protestantism, both historically and in contemporary times.
    • Location(s): Ref BX 4811.3 .E53 2004
  • Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History
    These two specialized encyclopedias offer articles on a variety of topics related to the two world wars.
    • Location(s): Ref D 740 .E516 2005 (5 vols.)
  • New Catholic Encyclopedia
    This recently-revised encyclopedia covers many general topics, but is particularly thorough in its coverage of Catholic doctrine, history, and traditional practice. Includes many illustrations.
    • Location(s): Ref BX 841 .N44 2002
Finding Books
  • MnPALS Plus

    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • WorldCat

    Includes over 40 million bibliographic records representing cataloged resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Materials date back to the 11th century. Owning libraries can be identified for books, journals, archival resources and electronic resources. Access to WorldCat is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM); the database can also be searched through its free web interface, at
Find Primary Sources
There is no particular area in the library where you will find primary sources shelved. You need to use creativity and insight to think about where to find primary sources for your research. Diaries, memoirs, and letters are possibilities; so are popular press accounts of events and official documents. The items listed below are a sampling of resources that may rove helpful in historical research. Look, too, for collections of documents published as anthologies or for important historical texts made available through quality websites such as American Memory (websites featuring primary sources are listed at the end of this guide).

  • MnPALS Plus

    In the library's catalog, try the Advanced Search option. Type in a search term and then in a separate search line, type the word "sources" and set the field as Subject. Although this way of searching isn't perfect, it will bring you to some primary sources related to your topic.
  • Organizations
    Think of the organizations operating at the time; some might have digitized archival materials available online. Search for the website of the organization, such as the World Council of Churches, and see if there's a link to their archives. NOTE: It's unlikely that you'll find a large amount of materials available digitally, but you might find something.
    • World Council of Churches Archives

      Search the Archives to find primary sources available online. Note that most of their archival materials are available only in person. If you can't talk Professor Solberg into funding a trip to Geneva, browse to see if any materials are available online.
    • Jewish-Christian Relations

      Online resource containing a wealth of materials about historical and current dialogues between Judaism and Christianity.
    • German Propaganda Archive

      Features propaganda from Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). "The goal is to help people understand the two great totalitarian systems of the twentieth century by giving them access to the primary material." Texts of speeches, posters and cartoons, excerpts from other writings, and related websites are organized into subject areas. Created and maintained by a professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. [description from]
  • The Popular Press
    • New York Times Historical (1851-4 years ago)

      The full text of the New York Times from 1851 to 4 years ago -- covering the entire publishing history of the newspaper back to the first issue. The newspaper text is fully indexed and searchable and the database also contains full-page images, including graphics. Available on the Web through ProQuest.
    • Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
      Indexes articles and reviews from a range of magazines. A separate book review index is located after the general index.
      • Location(s): Reference A13 .R28
Finding Articles
If you have an article citation and can't find the full text in a database, use the Journal Locator to see if Gustavus owns a print copy of the article OR if it is available through another database. Be sure to search the Journal Locator with the title of the journal, not the article title.
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)

    A multidisciplinary index covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. This index fully covers 1,144 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals, and also includes some individually selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals. Some of the disciplines covered include archaeology, linguistics, art, literature, music, philosophy, dance, history, religion and theater.
  • ATLA Religion Database & ATLA Serials,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=rfh

    A comprehensive research database in the fields of religion and theology produced by the American Theological Library Association. Includes bibliographic citations and abstracts to journal articles from over 1,500 titles, citations to essays and book chapters, book reviews, and Doctor of Ministry projects. Many journal articles and book reviews are also available in full text.
  • Catholic Periodical & Literature Index,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=vah

    The Catholic Periodical and Literature Index Online is the product of a partnership between ATLA and the Catholic Library Association. The database covers all aspects of the Catholic faith and lifestyle, and includes over 380,000 index citations of articles and reviews published in Roman Catholic periodicals, Papal documents, church promulgations, and books about the Catholic faith that are authored by Catholics and/or produced by Catholic publishers. Indexing for CPLI Online corresponds to the print version, The Catholic Periodical and Literature Index, published by the Catholic Library Association and covers content from over 200 periodicals. Coverage in the database dates back to 1981. (description from EBSCOHost)

    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
  • SAGE Premier

    Search the full text to over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click on the "Browse" tab, then click on the "Articles by Discipline" tab.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)

    A multidisciplinary index with searchable author abstracts covering the journal literature of the social sciences, including anthropology, history, law, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, political science, public health, social work, sociology, urban studies, and women's studies. SSCI indexes more than 1,725 journals spanning 50 disciplines. In addition, it is possible to retrieve a list of works that have cited a specific author or specific work. May be searched simultaneously with Arts & Humanities Citation Index and/or Science Citation Index Expanded through the Web of Science interface.
Entering the Scholarly Conversation
  • Cited References Search
    As you find books and articles, be sure to mine their references for sources. By tracing cited works you're drawing on the evidence others have used and may find connections that you would otherwise miss. You will also see patterns emerge: works cited by everyone else are worth a look; authors who write a lot about your topic are worth searching by name, etc.

    Search for cited books by title or author in library catalogs; for journal articles, check the Journal Locator by journal name to see if we have an article you want. Several databases also include features telling you how often a work has been cited. You don't need to find a book or article on the computer to request it through interlibrary loan. Simply use the reference you have to fill out a form for either a book or a journal article. These forms are linked on the Interlibrary Loan page below. (For essays in a book, ask for the book.)
Other Library Resources
We've got several additional resources through the library that you might find useful for your research. Check out these webpages for more information.
  • Interlibrary Loan

    For information on requesting books and articles from other libraries, visit our Interlibrary Loan page.
  • Reference Desk

    Visit with librarians at the desk, by phone, email or chat for help with any library or research question. Click on the link for more information about this service.
  • Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library Subject Guide for Religion

    Resources in the library and online for research related to religion. Includes a listing of subscribed print journals, book browsing tips, key print reference works, and recommended online databases and websites.
  • Documenting Your Sources

    Check out this guide to learn about citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago Style. A copy of the Chicago Manual of Style is housed on the shelves behind the reference desk.
  • Evaluating Web Sites

    Use our guide to help determine if a web site would be an appropriate and reliable source for your research.
Contacting Julie

I'm happy to meet with you at any time to chat about your research. I can suggest additional sources, advanced search techniques, and troubleshoot problems you may encounter. Email me at or call x7552.

Page Coordinator: Julie Gilbert
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