Skip to Content
Apply Request

How to Use the Guides

Introduction

These guides are designed to not only provide you with some of the resources you need for a given topic, but also to help you find further resources on your own. The guides are not comprehensive, but will give you a good start in your research journey.

Subject Introduction

Reading an introductory article or book is often an excellent way to gain a basic background in a particular subject. It allows you to get a handle on your topic by giving you the general history, background, people involved, definitions and other information that make further study possible. Oftentimes, with an article or book, you will be able to find bibliographies that you can obtain for more specific and relevant information. This section in the research guide may include one or more encyclopedia or dictionary articles, journal articles, Internet articles or books (when an article is unavailable).

How Do I Use This Information?
  1. Click on the link provided – this will take you either to the item record in the APOLIS2 catalog, or the webpage.
  2. If it is a library item, there are several things to note in the record (see the example below). The "Location" section will tell you in which library or libraries the item is located. The "Call No." is what you'll need to locate the item on the shelf once you get to the appropriate library. But before you go, be sure to check the "Status" section to see if the item is available for checkout (as in the example below) – reference materials are never available for checkout, and will always have a "Library Use Only" status.
Record from APOLIS library catalog

Reference Books

The items listed in this area of the research guide are located in the reference collections of one or more of our APU libraries. Reference materials cannot be borrowed, so be prepared to spend some time in the library when you use them, or be prepared to make some photocopies. The reference collections in our APU libraries include dictionaries, atlases, guides, manuals, almanacs, encyclopedias, handbooks and other similar resources. Especially when you're unfamiliar with a particular topic, the reference collection of any given library is an excellent place to start your research. And since research is rarely a linear process, you may find yourself back in the reference collection along the way.

Although many reference resources are general in nature, there are often reference materials available that are subject-specific. For example, the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters is more subject-specific than IVP Dictionary of the New Testament, which is more subject-specific than Eerdmans Bible Dictionary. It's important to note that many dictionaries are much more like encyclopedias than some sort of simple listing of words and definitions. These types of dictionaries, as well as encyclopedias, are useful for many reasons. As with the introductory article or book, dictionaries and encyclopedias are intended to give you a broad overview of the subject. The more recognized and authoritative ones will give you an idea of who the experts are in the field, since these are often the authors of the articles. And once again, you will often be able to obtain further resources by taking a look at the bibliographies at the end of each article.

How Do I Use This Information?
  1. Click on the link provided – this will take you either to the item record in the APOLIS2 catalog, or the webpage.
  2. If it is a library item, there are several things to note in the record (see the example below). The "Location" section will tell you in which library or libraries the item is located. The "Call No." is what you'll need to locate the item on the shelf once you get to the appropriate library. But before you go, be sure to check the "Status" section to see if the item is available for checkout (as in the example below) – reference materials are never available for checkout, and will always have a "Library Use Only" status.
Record from APOLIS library catalog

Written by Michelle Spomer, May 23, 2007