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THE1074 Patristics Library Research Guide: What information do I need?

Library resources support for THE1074 Present and Future Salvation in the Church Fathers

  • Consider this before you jump in and start searching, so that you can direct your searching at the most appropriate resources for your needs.

  • During this module you will be engaging with primary source materials from the key module authors, as well as secondary resources such as books and journal articles for analysis and commentary from scholars in the field.

  • Depending on the area you are researching you may also use a wider range of resources. 

  • If a topic or theme you are examining is topical (actively under discussion in research networks, or by other interested parties) you may also want to extend your research to sources such as:

    • news reports

    • social media

    • web pages

    • media broadcasts or programmes

Resource Types

Primary Sources

  • Original first hand accounts or records of activity as they happened or were created, without any subsequent interpretation or commentary.

  • Examples include: the original works of the early Church Fathers.

Secondary Sources

  • Interpretation, commentary or analysis of other sources. Typically written after the event or activity being discussed, and are not based on direct observation or involvement.
  • Examples include: textbooks, books and journal articles that do not present new research, dissertations, commentaries and criticisms, textbooks, newspaper articles that are opinions/reviews/analyses rather than first hand reporting on events

  • You can look at commentaries, critiques and analyses of original works to see what commentators, academics, scholars, etc. have discussed in terms of your chosen text and themes, and examine how these match or diverge from your own interpretation of the texts.

Tertiary Sources

  • Organisation, categorisation, index or collection of primary and secondary sources. These sources typically list or collate other sources, rather than adding additional commentary or observations.
  • Examples include: dictionaries and encyclopedias, bibliographies, fact books, digests, directories, guidebooks, indexing and abstracting sources.


There is some fluidity across these categories as, for example, news sources and journal articles can be primary or secondary sources, and/or offer primary secondary material within the same article.

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