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How to do Scripture Research in APU Databases: ATLA Religion

This guide offers strategies for finding information on particular Bible passages in APU databases.

Database Information

Four of the EBSCOhost databases (ATLA Religion, New Testament Abstracts, Old Testament Abstracts, and Catholic Periodical & Literature Index) offer a unique searchable field called either 'Scripture Citation' or 'Scripture Reference.' This allows the researcher to find items in the database that are relevant to particular scripture passages. When this search is used, the items retrieved will generally be quite academic and will focus on analysis of particular passages.

ATLA Religion Database is the premier index to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion. The database includes more than 555,000 article citations from more than 1,656 journals (518 currently indexed), more than 232,000 essay citations from over 16,700 multi-author works, more than 511,000 book review citations, and a growing number of multimedia citations. Full text is provided for more than 266,000 electronic articles and book reviews, from more than 130 journals selected by leading religion scholars in the United States.

All APU Databases can be accessed via the APU Libraries website by clicking on "All Databases." 

ATLA Religion Database with ATLAS Tutorial

Learn how to use the ATLA Religion Database with ATLAS effectively by watching the tutorial below. This tutorial is approximately 15 minutes from beginning to end.

Instructors:

  • Be sure the volume is turned on and is set at the volume level you want - the presentation has voice commentary throughout.
  • Invite students to go to the APU Libraries website (www.apu.edu/library) where they can follow along in the ATLA Religion Database
  • Click on "Start Prezi."
  • Click on the expand icon  in the lower right corner of the Prezi, and then click on the play arrow in the lower left corner - the Prezi will then play automatically.

Problems Loading?

  • Click on the Prezi icon  in the lower right corner of the Prezi - this will take you to the Prezi online where you can play it and expand it to full screen. Use the arrow in the lower left corner to autoplay the Prezi.

NOTE: You can download a zip file to your computer that contains a copy of the Prezi, which can be run at any time (no Internet connection necessary). Follow the instructions above for getting to the Prezi online, and then click the 'Download' link below the Prezi.

Scripture Research Instructions

If you are looking for journal articles related to particular passages of the Bible, you can use any of the three search methods below.

Search #1

ATLA Religion Database provides a convenient 'Scriptures' option at the top of the page that will retrieve close to the same number of results as Search #2 below. To use the 'Scriptures' option, follow these steps:

  • Access the database by clicking on the 'ATLA Religion Database' link in the box to the left.
  • Click on the 'Scriptures' link near the top of the page.

  • Use the 'Previous' and 'Next' links to find a particular book of the Bible.
  • Click on the [Expand] link to view the chapters of the book.
  • Click on the [Expand] link to view the verses in the chapter of the book.
  • Click on the verse of interest - you will then see a list of results that have something to do with the particular book, chapter, and verse that was selected. 
  • If you would like to search for several passages at once, see the example below. You will need to copy the search phrase (i.e. SR "Genesis 41:54") and modify it accordingly. You will also need to add 'OR' between each different search phrase.

  • After you have finished modifying your search click on the 'Search' button.
  • Consider narrowing your results to 'Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)' articles, by date (after 1985 is recommended by most biblical studies instructors at APU), or by language (many articles in ATLA Religion are written in French, German, and other languages). Use the tools in the 'Limit To' section in the column to the left of your results to limit to scholarly articles or to limit by date. Click on the 'Show More' link to limit by language.

Search #2

Search #2 seems to retrieve results quite similar to those of Search #1, but not exactly the same. This is just another option to try.

  • Access the database by clicking on the 'ATLA Religion Database' link in the box to the left.
  • Click on the 'Indexes' link near the top of the page.

  • Select 'Scripture Citation' from the 'Browse an Index' drop-down menu.
  • In the 'Browse' for box, type in the book name and chapter of the scripture passage you’re studying. If there is more than one book, type in the name of the book followed by a comma and '1st, '2nd,' or '3rd' (i.e. for I Corinthians, simply type in 'Corinthians, 1st').

  • Click the 'Browse' button.
  • In the resulting list, put a check mark next to relevant items and then click othe 'Add' button. You'll see your selections in the search box near the top of the page.

NOTE: Be sure to click 'Add' for each page before moving on to the next page of results (by clicking the 'Next' link).

  • Once you’ve added all your scripture passages to the search box, go ahead and click the 'Search' button to see your list of results. All of the items in your results list will have something to do with one or more of the scripture passages you selected.
  • Consider narrowing your results to 'Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)' articles, by date (after 1985 is recommended by most biblical studies instructors at APU), or by language (many articles in ATLA Religion are written in French, German, and other languages). Use the tools in the 'Limit To' section in the column to the left of your results to limit to scholarly articles or to limit by date. Click on the 'Show More' link to limit by language.


NOTE: If the chapter number is a single digit (e.g. Acts 2), follow the steps above and add the passages that are relevant. Before clicking on 'Search,' add a colon to your search (e.g. Acts 2:) and click 'Browse' again. Go through the entire list of passages for the chapter and add the ones that are relevant. Then click the 'Search' button for the results.

Search #3

If you'd like to look for jouranl articles on a particular term or topic (rather than a particular passage) within one or more Bible books, try this method:

  • Follow the first three steps from Search #2.
  • In the 'Browse' for box, type in the book name only of the book you're interested in searching. If there is more than one book, type in the name of the book followed by a comma and '1st, '2nd,' or '3rd' (i.e. for I Corinthians, simply type in 'Corinthians, 1st').

  • Click the 'Browse' button.
  • Put a checkmark next to the very first entry for the book - it will have a large record count in comparison with all of the more specific verses.
  • Click the 'Add' button to put the entry in the search box, and then click the 'Search' button.

NOTE:  If you would like to search across several books, repeat the above steps until you have added all the books to the search box - then click the 'Search' button.

  • After clicking 'Search,' you will get a results list for your selection, as well as extra search boxes. You will see information entered in the first search box - don't change this in any way.
  • Go to the second box, and enter in one or two terms of interest. Leave the drop-down menu selection to the right on 'Select a Field.'

  • Click the 'Search' button. Your results list will then be narrowed down to only those items are relevant to the scripture and that contain the term(s) you entered. This is a good way to search entire books for particular concepts, people, places, etc.
  • Consider narrowing your results to 'Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)' articles, by date (after 1985 is recommended by most biblical studies instructors at APU), or by language (many articles in ATLA Religion are written in French, German, and other languages). Use the tools in the 'Limit To' section in the column to the left of your results to limit to scholarly articles or to limit by date. Click on the 'Show More' link to limit by language.