RLST 100 - The Comparative Study of Religion

This guide is intended to introduce students to library resources available in the academic discipline of religious studies,

About Primary Sources

Primary sources are materials that were created at the time period you are studying. In the case of memoirs, they are the materials recorded later by a participant or witness of an event.

Examples of primary sources are:

  • books - nonfiction & fiction
  • magazine and journal articles
  • photographs and images
  • speeches
  • letters
  • diaries
  • memoirs and autobiographies
  • government documents
  • advertisements
  • films and audiorecordings
  • materials generated by companies & organizations
  • objects and ephemera (e.g., postcards)
  • court decisions

As you do background research on your topic, consider what primary sources might exist. Bibliographies you find in books and articles often mention their primary source material.

Locating Published Primary Sources

Published collections of primary sources often contain materials such as diary entries, letters, government documents, newspaper articles, speeches, and photographs.

To find collections of primary sources on a topic in the EMU Library's Esearch system:

1. Make sure you are at the Esearch "Advanced" search screen.

2. In the top box, type in a words or phrases that describe your topic.

3. In another row of search boxes, change the type of search in the drop down box from "All Fields" to "Subject Terms."

 4. In the search box for the "Subject Terms," add one of the following:

archival resources




early works to 1800














5.  OPTIONAL: To limit to books only, scroll down the screen to the "Content type" options and change "Any" to "Book/eBook." You can also limit to items in the library's catalog by scrolling to the "Show only" options and clicking box next to "Items in the library catalog (includes mostly print and physical material)."

6. Click on the "Search" button located in the bottom left-hand corner of the page.

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