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RELG 2031/HONR 2901: Eastern Religious Traditions

Background Information

Here are some options for finding background information:

Google your topic!

At this stage in your research, looking at relevant websites can be help you narrow or refine your topic.  Look for information from government websites and organizational websites to find background information.  

Utilize your textbooks

Peruse your textbooks to find background information on your selected topic.  

Find books in the library

Find reference books like encyclopedias or dictionaries in the library's catalog that provide background information on your topic in the library.  


Identify and Generate Keywords

Identify Keywords

Identify keywords that relate to your topic to assist you when you are searching for resources. Often different words can describe the same concepts and as a researcher, you can never be sure which keywords will bring back the information you are looking for.  

Brainstorm related terms, broader terms and narrower terms related to your topic.  

chart outlining keywords. full text is available in document below.

Keyword Generators

Subject Headings

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are topical descriptions of the information contained in the item (books, articles, media). There are currently more than 330,000 authorized subject headings. They are widely used and accepted in North America and around the world.

Any book or other item may have one or more subject headings assigned to it by trained professionals at the Library of Congress. Some examples of LCSH are:

  • Photography of Cats
  • Cerebral Dominance
  • Theatre Organ Music
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Church and State -- Soviet Union

Subject Searching in Heterick's Library Catalog and Databases

You would think that you could enter any topic as a Subject search in the online catalog. However, the Subject search uses LCSH terms to organize books by subject. If you enter your keywords as a Subject search, you may not get much back.

For example:

If you entered a Subject search for: acquired immune deficiency syndrome you would get NO books. The catalog would direct you to the official LCSH heading: AIDS (Disease).

If you entered a Subject search using the Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) term: AIDS (Disease) you would see that Heterick Library has over 50 books that use this subject heading, plus many more with subheadings attached.

Hyperlinked Subject Headings

Heterick's library catalog and databases contain blue hyperlinked subject headings. If you click on those subject headings, it will take you all of the items in that catalog or database that use that particular subject heading.

  • In the catalog, you will see a list of subject headings using that term as well as the headings that are alphabetically right before and right after that heading, which can help you expand your list of relevant subject headings.
  • In the databases, clicking a hyperlinked subject heading will recreate the results list using that particular heading as a subject heading search. 

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