Dom Taylor, MA, MLIS

Peace & Conflict Studies, Philosophy, Catholic Studies, and Religion Librarian

Religion Subject Guide

Religion & Sexuality: Research workshop

RLGN 1424-A01

January 17, 2019

Introduction to library + reading/paraphrasing



It helps with your research and university experience.

My hope is for you to experience the library as something that is:


It is not difficult to figure out.


You enjoy your experience in the library or using library systems.




things I can help with


Identifying/narrowing a topic, finding references, suggesting keywords, outlining some search strategies, etc...


Using databases, citation management software, etc...


If you have questions about a citation format, I can point you to some resources or give you some guidance.





I can help clarify your ideas and refine your arguments, by helping you identify/locate counter-arguments and alternative perspective.


useful library services


If the libraries are lacking an article or a book, you can order items using this service.  Delivery time: +/- 2 to 3 days for an article and 1 to 2 weeks for a book.



You can book private/group study rooms here for multiple library locations. 



Subject guides can provide you with a good starting point for research (e.g., relevant databases, handbooks, and encyclopedias).  Religion library guide is here.


paraphrasing and critical reading

example 1: context matters

"The cat is on the mat."

How would you paraphrase this?

example 1: context matters

"The cat is on the mat."

"The felis catus is situated on the floor covering"

Is this helpful? Does this add meaning or clarification? Does the sentence itself give you much to work with?

example 1: context matters

"The cat is on the mat. His name is Rudy and he basically lives on the mat. He doesn't even look up when I come home. I don't think he even likes me."

Now, how would you paraphrase this?

try to capture not just the things I am saying, but what I am trying to get across (the point)

example 2:

the real deal

"[T]he jokes about Jewish women are not part of a general humor of misogyny, for they have no real parallel elsewhere and they never get switched to women who are not Jewish"(Davis, 2011, p.113).


"Rather, the jokes emerge from social tensions and contradictions within the Jewish community about the rising tide of Jewish intermarriage, a problem that gentiles probably do not know about, do not care about, and do not understand." (Davis, 2011, p.113-114).


"These jokes are a peculiarly Jewish phenomenon that has no equivalent elsewhere. The gentiles have learned the jokes from Jewish joke tellers, have come to enjoy them and indeed to tell them, but they do not transfer the jokes to their own womenfolk. The jokes remain external to them. Even though the term and acronym JAP has been modified to include IAPs (Italian American Princesses), Happies (Hibernia n American Princesses), and BAPs (Black American Princesses), there are no equivalent sex jokes about them. " (Davis, 2011, p.116).

finally, try and paraphrase this as a whole in 1 to 2 sentences:

  Davies, C. (2011). Jokes and targets. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

example 2:

some takeaways

2. Paraphrase ideas rather than sentences.

3. You can paraphrase an idea that is scattered throughout a text (multiple pages). However, make sure that the idea is clearly supported in the text.

1. Always try to identify what point the author is trying to make. This should be the focus of your paraphrase.

Citation as a tool













Julian: "Is the bank open on Saturdays?"​​

Getting around the world means you have to trust people. The question is how much trust you should give and why. This depends on context.

Me: "Yes!"

Julian: "How do you know??"

Me: "I was there last year, I think."

Julian: "Do you actually know? If I don't make a payment, I'll lose my apartment"

Me: "Oh...I don't actually know. Let's check online."

Snow day

Julian: "Looks like a blizzard out. Are classes cancelled?"​​

Me: "Definitely!"

Julian: "How do you know??"

Me: "I looked out the window."

Me: "I checked the university homepage."



Citation as a responsibility

Academic integrity is important,


there are other equally important reasons to cite.

Citing as a "game"

  • Expressing yourself meaningfully requires shared rules.
  • This is like a board game/ sport. You can modify or disregard some rules, but there comes a point when you are no longer playing the original game.

3 important "moves" in the citation game

Following the citation game gives you some abilities by allowing for certain moves:

  1. Duty/Obligation: 2-way obligation. If you take others' ideas seriously (by citing them), then people will take your ideas seriously.

  2. Licence: Like a license to drive, but this is a license to put an idea forward/critique an idea. This license comes in different strengths. This strength is directly tied to the strength of the idea you are citing and how you explain it.

  3. Legitimacy: How seriously people will take your claims depends on how well you use your licenses. The better (and more) connections you have to other ideas, the more likely people will take your ideas seriously.

What's important?

  1. Using the library search engine, find and/or look over one of the following articles or books:
    • "Feminist Buddhism as Praxis: Women in Traditional Buddhism" by Kawahashi Noriko in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
    • "Liberation Theology, Modernity and Sexual Difference" in Liberation Theology and Sexuality (ebook) edited by Marcella Althaus-Reid.

  2. Pick what you think is the most important type of info.
  3. Why do you think this? Come up one reason for each type of info.
  4. Identify one aspect of the source that might be difficult to cite.

Online Resources

ZotBib citation generator. This can handle multiple citation formats, including APA, but it isn't perfect, so verify the information using one of the following:

  1. Purdue OWL (reference list and in-text) and/or CitationFox (reference list only).
  2. UM APA 1 pager (easy to use)

Quoting vs. Paraphrasing

  1. Both are forms of citation.
  2. Both require author and year, but quotes also require page numbers.
  3. Quoting is especially useful when the author's terminology or wording is crucial. For most assignments, use quotes sparingly. 
  4. Paraphrasing is the default way to cite because it allows you to reframe the author's ideas.
  5. If you are using the author's words or ideas, then CITE! Better to cite too much than too little. 














Leverage your knowledge of how trust and citation work:

  1. A good article or book is usually based on (i.e., cites) other good articles/books (authors use 2 way obligation). In this way, a good article lets you look into the past.
  2. Unless it has been very recently published, the article/book you cite has likely been cited by others (authors attempt to create legitimacy and others use that legitimacy for their own work).In this way, a good article lets you look into the future of the original article. GoogleScholar can help with finding who has cited the article you are reading.

You need 5 relevant and credible sources for your annotated bibliography


Although you will adapt this to your own needs and preferences over time, this is a good workflow to start with:

  1. Identify a broad topic that interests you, do some basic research, and narrow down your topic to a specific question. Narrowing can take multiple tries: (A) Catholicism + Gender--->(B)Catholicism + women---> (C) Catholicism + women  + ordination OR Catholicism + women + reproductive rights.
  2. Formulate a focused research question/thesis: neither too broad nor too narrow. This is tricky and will take practice. You can start by answering "who," "what," "why," "when," "where," and "how" questions. Set some parameters (e.g., dates, geographic location, demographic information), but be ready to change them. 

Workflow (cont.)

3. From your question/narrow topic, identify keywords, including synonyms and related concepts that you can use in your search. Examples: "Latin America" and "South America" are used as synonyms (interchangeably), therefore it is important to search both terms. "Gender" is often related to the term "sexuality." Even though these are not synonyms, they cover similar territory, therefore it may be useful to look up both.   

4. Combine keywords, phrases, subject headings into search queries:  Try many different searches and combinations of terms. Expect that it will take at least 10 different searches to get a good feel for what is out there. Use AND, OR, brackets + quotations (""). More on this below. To start, use our basic search engine OR GoogleScholar.

5. Keep track of interesting articles!




Stay standing if:

  1. You are in RLGN 1424-A01

Stay standing if:

  1. You are in RLGN 1424-A01


  2. You are wearing (jeans OR glasses)

Stay standing if:

  1. You are in RLGN 1424-A01


  2. You are wearing (jeans OR glasses)

    But you did NOT

  3. "Eat breakfast" this morning

Let's turn this into a search query

"RLGN 1424-A01" 
("wearing jeans" OR "wearing glasses") 
("eat breakfast" AND morning)



A search for "Jewish AND Christian" will find results that contain both terms and will exclude results that only have one of the two terms.


A search for "Jewish OR Christian" will find results that contain either of the search terms. This will generate more results. Handy for synonyms.


How AND/OR work



Research as providing context

1. Using the library search engine find 2 peer-reviewed articles on the ethics of male circumcision. One should be a defense and the other a critique.  These should be published after 2010. Tip: use limiter tools to narrow your search (right hand of the results screen--limit to articles, peer-reviewed, published after 2010). You can identify articles directly via the search. You can also review the references in a critique to identity an article that provides a defense. FOR YOU RESEARCH ESSAY YOU SHOULD DO BOTH!


Hint: Build a simple search, such as: Circumcision AND religion AND (rights OR ethics). Remember: you can also add terms to this search that indicate the perspective you are looking for (e.g., "critique," "defense," "review," "violation," "risk," "benefits," etc...).


2.  Once you have found your articles, search for them in GoogleScholar and, if possible, identify 1 source that has cited the given article.


3. Based on these preliminary searches, formulate a simple research question that would be appropriately broad/narrow for a 1 page research essay.


  1. It helps to do a general search and see what information is available before creating a research question/topic.
  2. Once you find one good and relevant resource, you can use it to find others. Look at the citations and using GoogleScholar you can see who has cited the article you found.
  3. Some sources, such as papal encyclicals, can be found online on organizational websites (e.g., Vatican). However, as a general rule, use sources that are found in our search engines or a peer-reviewed source in GoogleScholar. 

Some things to practice

The workshop allowed us to see how the research process works and how you can use interconnected resources to get a better picture of a given topic. However, to put this knowledge to use

  1. Experiment with topic searches. Make use of AND + OR, as well as brackets () and quotation marks (""). Get comfortable using a thesaurus to find synonyms and related terms.
  2. Try out different search engines. Start with the basic library search and GoogleScholar, but then try out some of the databases listed in the subject guide. They will all produce different results with the same search. 

Online Resources

ZotBib citation generator. This can handle multiple citation formats, including APA, but it isn't perfect, so verify the information using one of the following:

  1. Purdue OWL (reference list and in-text) and/or CitationFox (reference list only).
  2. Catholic Studies guide (some info for Catholic Studies-specific citation).
  3. UM APA 1 pager (easy to use)

Contact info

Dom Taylor


phone: 204.474.9184

book an appointment

library profile



Religion & Sexuality: Paraphrasing, Citation, and Research Workshop

By Dom Taylor

Religion & Sexuality: Paraphrasing, Citation, and Research Workshop

Brief introduction to what I services I can offer as your librarian and some of the resources that are available to you. This presentation also includes a reading exercise.

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