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Religious Studies 211: Islam in America: Getting Started

This library research guide is intended for students enrolled in Prof. Sam Kigar's REL 211 course.  The guide provides research tips, tools, and strategies for undertaking the research component of the mosque project assignment.

Newspapers

Newspaper articles will be an essential part of your research process. You can use Wikipedia to identify important newspapers in your assigned city, and then search the following databases.

Demographic Data

You'll need to use a variety of approaches to develop a sense of the Muslim demographics of your city. 

A good place to start is with data from the Pew Research Center, specifically their ongoing Religious Landscape Survey, and data from the American Muslim Poll, conducted by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a nonprofit think tank devoted to researching and advocating for Muslim Americans.

A library database called Social Explorer provides another, indirect, way to look at demographics in specific cities and even specific neighborhoods.  Social Explorer uses government data from the U.S. Census, and American Community Survey, and is best for identifying places where immigrants are living, but it cannot tell you for certain what their religious identification is because these surveys do not gather information about religion.  For example, you'll be able to see if a city has an immigrant population from a Muslim-majority country, but you cannot infer that all immigrants from that country are Muslims. 

Social Explorer is a wonderful tool that has a bit of a learning curve.  If, after running some searches on your city, you find that you're struggling to understand the data, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with Peggy Burge!

Associate Director for Public Services

Peggy Burge's picture
Peggy Burge
Contact:
Collins Library 119
253.879.3512

Background Information

Try these Library of Congress Subject Headings to discover materials in Primo that provide broader contextual information.