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Biblical Counseling: Search Strategies

Specific Research Instructions and Tools for the field of Biblical Counseling

Counseling & Psychology Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Common Search Queries for Biblical Counseling Assignments

Here are suggested search queries for efficiently and effectively finding resources to assist you in answering these frequently asked questions from a variety of Biblical Counseling courses.

NOTE 1:  "su:" is the metatag commanding the search engine to look only in the Subject field of the bibliographic record (Description) for the associated keyword [See Figure 1 below]; "su=" is the metatag to indicate a subject phrase.  


<su:theology (assurance OR perseverance)> The "OR" must be capitalized so the search engine recognizes it as a Boolean command; not as a keyword.  The parentheses commands the search engine to perform the OR operation first.


<su:hope biblical teaching> See Figure 2

CASE STUDIES on any topic; add the following to your search query:

  • case stud*
  • case report*
  • case example*
  • stud*
  • method*


  • Search ATLA with the phrase “critical race theory”.  Include the quotation marks so the system knows to treat it as a phrase.
  • In Academic Search and ProQuest Research Library use:
    [“critical race theory” christianity law]
    [“critical race theory” christianity]
  • Use these search queries in the library catalog:
    su=critical race theory
    counseling AND su:critical race theory
    su:christianity culture AND kw:counseling
    su:christianity culture biblical
    su:christianity justice AND kw:counseling
    su:christianity justice racism
    su:social justice religious aspects AND kw:counseling 


NOTE 2:  The asterisk (*) is a truncation symbol (meaning to cut off). It commands the search engine to search the root word and every variation thereafter.  For example, in the case of "equal", the Discovery search engine will find records containing equal, equality, equalize, equally, equivalent, etc.  

<equal* marriage christianity> See Figure 3 for example.

<equal* marriage biblical>


<"male headship>

For Articles, search ATLAReligion and Christian Periodical Index (from the library Web site, select Find Databases):

  • <egalitarian* OR equal* AND marriage>

NOTE 3:  "OR" and "AND" must be in all caps so the search engine recognizes them as Boolean commands and not at key words.  This search will retrieve records containing EITHER some variation of the word egalitarian OR some variation of the word equal.  AND, the records must also contain the word marriage.


There are several methods that may be used for easily retrieving resources on this topic.


  • <"sufficiency of scripture"> This method will retrieve records that contain the phrase somewhere in the record.
  • <su:bible inspiration> This method will retrieve works which discuss the Bible as a divinely inspired book. 
  •  <su:bible evidences> This method will retrieve works which attempt to establish the truth of statements in the Bible and to present the Bible as a book whose principles should be followed.  The subject heading Bible--evidences is used instead of Bible--authority.


Figure 1.   [Back]

Figure 2.  [Back]

Figure 3.   [Back]


Last updated November, 2019.

Search Strategies

Copy and paste the following search queries into the Discovery search box on the Powell Library Web site along with any other topical keyword to find resources on topics relating to Biblical or Christian Counseling.

su:counseling christianity

su:counseling biblical

su:"pastoral counseling"  (use quotation marks for phrases)

su:"pastoral care"

su:"peer counseling in the church"

> To find case studies on any topic, add these keywords / phrases to your search:

•“case study”
•“case reports”
•“case description”
NOTE:  Be sure to put phrases in quotation marks.
NOTE:  The asterisk (*) is a truncation symbol (meaning to cut off) commanding the search engine to look for the root word and every variation thereafter.  In this case it will retrieve: method, methods, methodology, methodologies, methodological, methodologically.

> The metadata code "su:" is a command instructing the Discovery search engine to look only in the Subject field of each record in the catalog..

> The use of the subject terms "christianity" and "biblical" (use bibl* to get bible and biblical) can be added to any topic to find the Christian or Biblical view of that topic.

Related Research Guides

Related Biblical Counseling Research Guides

Reference Librarian

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Janet "Miss T." Tillman
Robert L. Powell Library
The Master's University
21726 Placerita Canyon. Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91321