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Help doing Research

Every research question or project is unique, and the path you take to find your answers and gather your materials will also be unique. It's a journey in which everything you find or read may not be relevant to inclusion in your final paper or project. That doesn't mean that learning along the way was wasted. God may be giving you something you need to use later on. Read. Learn about the databases and resources you're using.The trick to making it go faster is not to rush it. The trick to making it easier is accepting that it's complicated. The trick to finding a few perfect sources is gathering a lot of ones that aren't perfect. If you're looking in the wrong places, look someplace else. If you're using the wrong search terms, use other ones. If you're looking for something that doesn't exist, look for something that does. If you need help, contact Nancy Lois.  As you read and learn more about your topic, your question and project becomes both more nuanced and more focused. Your thoughts and ideas improve, as you encounter others thinking with you and against you. Your encounter with others should influence what you intended your paper to say before you started doing research. Research should change your mind. It's a dynamic process. Be open to changing your mind and modifying your direction, as you go on this journey - that's the whole point of exploring the topic and writing the paper. If you're taking the time to read this, you're on the right track!

Where Do I start?

Start by focusing on the library catalog for books and the ATLA Religion database for journal articles. If you're new to the ATLA Religion database, grace comes in the form of a two minute tutorial - your salvation from frustration, aggravation and confusion.

Start with a conversation with your librarian, Nancy Lois. She enjoys hearing about your projects and papers and putting her database expertise to work for you. 


Identify yourself as a member of the ANTS community by giving a login and password. These are available to currently registered students and current faculty and staff. 

Connection Issues

Please report any problems you experience connecting to online resources to Nancy Lois and the Help Desk. 

Rev. Nancy L. Lois, Director of the Library

Nancy earned her M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School in 2011. She is an ordained minister in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC).  She has worked in the libraries of Baystate Medical Center, Westfield State University and Mount Holyoke College.  She earned her Masters in Library Science (M.L.S.) degree from Rutgers University in 1991. She is passionate about using her unique background to create a positive library experience for those studying theology and religion.  She wants to help seminarians find what they need in the library, online, and in the larger world. She believes there are vital conversations occurring between written materials and readers and she enjoys facilitating their continuance. You might say it's a calling. Nancy would like to hear from students about their research interests and needs. If you are a student, she can talk through your research projects with you -- helping you to avoid pitfalls and identify opportunities. Nancy also welcomes questions from alumni/ae and practicing pastors looking for good sources of information. She hopes that students will form a positive relationship with the library while they are studying at the School -- a relationship that will continue for life. She can be contacted at 617-831-2416 or

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