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Guide to Research and Writing for the Academic Study of Religion

ATLA Religion Database

ATLA is the major database for Religions Studies



The upper part of the screen has text boxes where you can enter your search terms. Note the drop boxes on the right. These allow you to choose which fields to search in; the drop boxes on the left allow you to choose your Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).  Note the default "Select a Field" does not search full-text.  Need to select TX All Text.

A unique feature of ATLA is scripture browsing. Unfortunately, it is a feature limited to the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. To access the scripture browsing feature, select Scriptures from the blue bar at the top. Then select the verses you would like to find articles about and click search. Articles listed in the database on that particular part of scripture will be found.

 Select Preferences on the top menu bar  to change how your search results appear, including having your references format in Chicago by default.



  • Full-Text

Be careful limiting to full-text.  It is recommended that you do not select this as you may exclude extremely relevant and useful articles unnecessarily. ATLA has limited full-text articles in their database, however, the results from ATLA will include links to full-text articles in other databases  that the Library subscribes to. Limiting your results to full-text will limit  results to full-text articles that are available only through that database and exclude any that could be linked to in other databases.

  • Abstract Available
    This option can be helpful with some indexes but can also limit you from some very good sources. Very few articles in ATLA have abstracts.
  • Year Published
    Think of how current your sources need to be. If you are researching an area that is changing rapidly then don't waste your time reading outdated sources.  NOTE that it can take awhile for articles to be indexed in ATLA so you will not find many articles published within the current year.  
  • Journal Title
    This is a rare option to choose. Unless you are looking for a particular article or are focussing your search to one particular journal this option will likely limit your search too narrowly.
  • Language
    If you only want articles in English, don't waste your time with records in other languages. Or, to select multiple languages using, use the CTRL key.


ATLA Tutorial Created by Trinity Western University