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Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: Church and State in America

This guide will help you understand how to efficiently and effectively do basic research.

Step 1. Locate Church and State in America Background Information

This guide leads you through the research process for Church and State in America topics. For general tips on the research process, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.

Related Subject Guides - Education, Political Science, and Religion.


For Specialized print encyclopedias, use the Social Sciences/Education Reference collection, Level 1:

  • Cults: A Reference Handbook (Soc Sci Ref H 1 .C65x 2005g)
  • Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties (Soc Sci Ref KF 4747.5 .E53 2006)
  • Religion and American Law: An Encyclopedia (Soc Sci Ref KF 4783 .A68 R45 2000)
  • Religion and Politics: A Reference Handbook (Soc Sci Ref H 1 .C65x 2002b)
  • The Religious Right: A Reference Handbook (Soc Sci Ref H 1 .C65x 2001a)

For Specialized online encyclopedias, use the following databases. For subject specific background resources, use the Education Subject Guide, the Political Science Subject Guide, and the Religion Subject Guide.

Steps 4 & 5: Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper

For tips on Evaluating Research Materials & Writing Your Paper, click on the Basic Research Strategy tab above.

Step 2. Develop & Narrow Your Topic

After reading Background Resources, you should be able to fill out the following "From Topic to Research Focus" formula.  NOTE: This is NOT the same as your Thesis Statement.  Your Thesis Statement is developed after you read Research Materials about your issue/question, determine your stance, and decide how you will present your attitude/angle/argument. For examples of how to use the "From Topic to Research Focus" rubric, click on the Develop and Narrow Topic tab at the top of this page.

1)  I am researching ______________________________________ (topic)
2)  because I want to find out _______________________________  (issue/question)
3)  in order to ____________________________________________ (application)

Organize your Research Focus into concepts: identify terms, think of synonyms, and organize them using this chart.

(Concept 1) _______________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 1)

AND (Concept 2) ___________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 2)

AND (Concept 3) ___________ OR ______________ OR ______________ (Synonyms for Concept 3)

Step 3. Find Research Materials for Church and State in America topics

For Books use the Books & More search to find specific titles from the bibliographies you noted above. Use the Books & More - Advanced Search to find additional books on your issue question. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box.

For Articles use the Articles & More - Advanced Search selecting Collection: Education; Religion & Family History; Social Sciences. Referring back to the concept chart above, enter your keyword search, one concept for each box. Click Go to begin the search. Click on the title of the article to read the abstract. Click the Full Text Available and Check for Full Text to view the entire article.

To retrieve additional articles, connect to the databases linked below, or select them from Databases A-Z in the Databases & Journals box on the Library Home Page. Depending on how you have narrowed your subject, other databases listed on the Education Subject Guide, the Political Science Subject Guide, and the Religion Subject Guide may also be appropriate.