To facilitate searching, RTA regularly abbreviates "Old Testament" as OT and "New Testament" as NT. But in titles the original terms are maintained.
ADVANCED SEARCH allows searching of the TITLE field alone. It is often the case that an article will contain more information about a subject appearing in the title. This may be useful in making a large number of found abstracts more manageable.
Some search terms may be spelled or referred to in different ways: Koran/Qur'an; Septuagint/LXX; Daoism/Taoism. Be sure to search for all variations!
WILD CARD (*) allows searching for terms with multiple possible endings: "Christ*" will find: Christ's Christian(s), Christianity, Christology, etc.
Try using the WILD CARD (*) when searching for a proper name, to locate entries with a variety of endings, e.g., "Hegel*" will find: Hegel, Hegel's, Hegelian.
Over the years, CHANGES IN SPELLING are introduced: co-operation/cooperation; post-modern/postmodern; health care/healthcare. Be sure to search for all variants.
AMBIGUOUS ABBREVIATIONS. RTA regularly abbreviates "United States" as USA, rather than US (a search for the latter will also find the pronoun "us." A search for "AIDS" will also find mentions of the verb/noun "aids." Search instead for "HIV" - since RTA regularly uses HIV/AIDS.
AMBIGUOUS TERMS: a search for Job (OT text) will also find the noun "job" (occupation). To find the OT book, search for: "book job". Ditto for Esther, Acts, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Mark, Luke, etc.
COMMON ABBREVIATIONS: Search for both the abbreviation and the full name. NCC/National Council of Churches; SDA/Seventh-day Adventists; CPE/Clinical Pastoral Education, etc.
SCRIPTURE CITATION search: When a Bible book is entered in the Scripture Citation Search without designating chapter and/or verse, e.g., "book of John" RTA retrieves ALL Scripture Citations for the Gospel of John.
ADVANCED SEARCH "Without the Words": This may be useful in eliminating extraneous hits. Example: search for "singles" (the unmarried, divorced, etc.) include Without the Words "out". This eliminates records saying "singles out the reasons for..."
ADVANCED SEARCH "Title or Abstract" Option searches the entire record except the Author Field. This allows searches for Gospel of Mark while excluding records mentioning "gospel" or with an author named "Mark."
AMBIGUOUS TERMS: "Indian" may refer to North and South American aborigines as well as the Subcontinent of India. RTA records usually include "India" in abstracts referring to the country. Searching for "American Indians" generally finds references to aborigines.
You can search for a particular century, e.g. 2nd century church, 19th century Judaism, etc. Dates are identified as BC or BCE and AD or CE
RTA generally ELIMINATES PERSONAL TITLES: professor, saint, pope. Search for Augustine not "saint Augustine"; for "John Paul II" not "pope John Paul II."
Be aware of CHANGES IN SPELLING over decades. Eg. "world view" "world-view" "worldview"; "socio-political" "sociopolitical"
"England" is also referred to as: "UK" United Kingdom" "Britain." "United States" is regularly abbreviated as "USA" (rather than an ambiguous "US")