SOC 210 Sociological Research Methods

Background Sources
Encyclopedias are generally most useful for two things:
  • To introduce a topic, give a brief overview or a definition.
  • To recommend further reading, usually either sound introductions or seminal works.

A to Z of Social Research, 2003.
Defnitions and guides to methods and issues.

Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2007. Reference HM425.B53

Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology
Articles of varying length on sociological topics, with no bibliographies

Credo Reference
Searchable online reference books such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and quotation books in many subject areas.

Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices, 2010.

Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2000. Reference HM425.E5 2000

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2008. Reference HA40.A2 I5

Key Concepts in Critical Social Theory, 2005.

Core Databases
Although Summon is often a good starting point, for more focused results, check one of the following, which provide access to materials in sociology:

A core database, which indexes journals, books, dissertations and conference papers.  Use the "Subject Terms" tab at the top of the screen to determine what a particular concept is called and to discover related terms - for instance, checking "poverty" leads to "homelessness," "downward mobility" and "poor" as additional terms that might be appropriate.  You can often start with a keyword search, and then look at relevant entries to see what subject terms or descriptors have been assigned to your topic.

Sociological Abstracts  
Although there is considerable overlap between this database and SocINDEX, SA also has some unique items, and a useful thesaurus of indexing terms:  "poverty" leads here to "low income groups" and "underclass".
Supplemental Databases
Sometimes other indexes are useful, especially when you're looking at topics that might be interdisciplinary, such as those that address social psychology or gender studies. The databases listed below may be helpful, but be sure to restrict your search to scholarly journals, since some of the indexes include newspapers and popular magazine articles.

Ethnic Newswatch
Research and articles related to African American, Caribbean/African, Arab/Middle Eastern/Persian and Islamic, Asian/Pacific Island, European/Eastern European, Hispanic, Jewish, Multi-ethnic and Native Peoples.

Proquest Criminal Justice
U.S. and international criminal justice journals. abstract and indexing for 250 titles, 100+ in full-text.

Indexes and abstracts the international journal, and book literature in psychology and related disciplines since 1887. Lots of full text is available. Click on the "find article" icon if the pdf or html link to the article is not visible.

Women's Studies International
Indexes publications in women’s studies and related fields, 1972-present. Journals, news sources, web pages, dissertations, books and book chapters are included
Find Full Text
If full text is not immediately accessible via a pdf or html, click Find it @Drew:

Then select from your choices:
Library Catalog
To locate books owned by Drew, check Drew Library Catalog .  

For books on a specific topic, use the same search techniques that you use in Sociological Abstracts or SOCindex, first using natural language searching, and then identifying the specific terms used within the catalog:

To find out if we own a specific book, search the title - in quotation marks - and the author:

If we do not own a specific book you need, request it through InterLibrary Loan .

Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal Classification:
Although you'll usually be after an explicit call number assigned to an individual book, you can also browse the shelves.  To find relevant call numbers, use Comparison of Dewey and Library of Congress subject classification, and use ctrl/f to find sociology.


Data Sources
Use the following to see what subjects researchers have explored and the type of data that's available.

General Social Survey
A compilation of a long-term survey of Americans on a wide variety of topics.  Check the Subject variables to see what questions have been asked.

ICPSR Direct
Data sets in social sciences. (You must create a MyData account to download data.)

Using ASA Formatting
There is a useful guide to American Sociological Association format on Purdue University's OWL.  The complete Style Guide is at the Research Help Desk HM.A547 2010.

ASA formatting is one of the options offered by EndNote Web, which will automatically set up your bibliography in a designated style.  For a complete guide to setting up and using EndNote Web, check here, or search endnote web on the Drew website. 
Subject Specialist
Picture: Jody Caldwell

Jody Caldwell
Head of Reference
Tel: 973-408- 3481

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