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HIS 494: Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

Students working on laptops in mezzanine.Forming your Search String

The more complicated your question, the less likely a search engine can understand it. To get the best result, identify keywords and like terms to create a search string.

Example research question: How did the Didascalia Apostolorum influence the development of Christianity in the 3rd-4th centuries?

Keywords: Didascalia Apostolorum, Christianity, 3rd-4th centuries

Like terms can include synonyms and also examples of your keywords. If you don't get results from searching your keywords, it doesn't mean that the research doesn't exist. It could mean that the researcher used different language to describe the same topic

  • Didascalia Apostolorum: Didascalia, 
  • Christianity: Christian*, church, Epiphanius of Salamis
  • 3rd-4th centuries: 200-399 CE/AD, Imperial Roman Empire

Search strings connect your keywords and like terms together for the best results.

Too many results? Use AND to narrow results

Didascalia Apostolorum AND Christianity AND 4th century

Too few results? Use OR to broaden results or use * to search for any terms that begin with those letters

Didascalia* AND Christian* OR Epiphanius of Salamis AND 4th century OR 3rd century OR Imperial Roman Empire

students reading in front of periodical display

Also known as peer-reviewed articles, scholarly articles are sources that are:

  • written by experts in the field
  • reviewed by other experts in the field (hence the peer-reviewed)
  • intended for an academic audience

While you can find scholarly articles through general search engines, databases contain a feature where you can narrow your results to only scholarly articles.

Find Subject-Specific Articles:

Find Articles in Multidisciplinary Databases:

Use the following archives to access primary sources:

Primary Sources Books from Jenks Library

Primary Sources on Asceticism
Collections of Primary Sources on Asceticism

Student thumbing through a book in front of library stacks

Books and eBooks often provide a broader overview and cover more information than a scholarly journal article.

You don't need to read an entire book to use it in your research. Use the index at the back of a book to find the information you need.

To find books and eBooks, you can either:

  • Search the NOBLE catalog
  • Browse the stacks for a book related to your topic

BR 160-275     History of Early Christianity

DS 92-99         Syria

DS 101-151     Israel (Palestine). The Jews

DT 43-154       Egypt

Reference Books from Jenks Library

If you find an article or book that you can't access, don't pay for it! Instead, submit an inter-library loan (ILL) request, and you'll receive articles within a few days!

Are you looking for a specific article, like an article that you found referenced in a bibliography? Search for the journal in Journal Finder, linked below: