This guide is designed to assist students enrolled in Sociology courses with locating Library resources for their research paper assignments. The guide is organized into steps that cover the basic research process: identifying a topic, locating relevant sources, and citing sources used to write the paper. For general research assistance other than Sociology, view the links listed under Research Tools.
Whether your instructor assigns you a topic or you choose one yourself, an effective way to begin your research is with a source that presents an overview of the issues. This will enable you to focus your topic while providing valuable background information to assist you with selecting academic journal articles and information from other resources. The following sources are useful as starting points for identifying topics and issues related to Sociology:
Books and other Library materials can be searched using the Online Catalog. Books for Sociology are categorized under sections HM - HX in the Library's collection. There are two categories of books in the Library: general and reference. General books can be checked out and are often used for more in-depth research. Reference books do not circulate but can be useful for acquiring an overview on a topic. Reference books are located on the upper floor of the Library and circulating books are in the "Stacks" on the lower floor.
A few selected Library general and reference titles for Sociology are listed below.
The Library subscribes to online databases that provide access to full-text magazines, scholarly journals, newspaper articles and eBooks. Since databases are subscriptions that contain copyrighted written materials, off-campus access is password protected. To search from home you will first need to log in using your MyVVC credentials. The following databases are suggested for Sociology related research:
The Library maintains a collection of instructor reserve materials. These consist of textbooks, videos, and supplemental course materials that instructors have put in the Library for student use. To find what materials are available for Sociology, search Course Reserves in the Online Catalog. It is best to search by "Course Number" (ex. SOC 101) in that an instructor other than yours may have placed an item on reserve. Materials can be requested at the Circulation counter and generally must be used in the Library on a two-hour loan period. Photocopy machines are available for 10¢ a copy.
Citing Sources and Plagiarism
The most common way to cite sources is to use a bibliography or "Works Cited" list at the end of your paper. The works cited list includes a citation for each of the sources you used to write your paper. The citations are formatted in a consistent style according to one of several standard citation formats. The two most common citation formats for college research papers are: (1) The APA Publication Manual (American Psychological Association) - predominately used in Social Sciences and (2) The MLA Handbook (Modern Language Association) - predominately used in Humanities and Liberal Arts. Copies of the MLA Handbook (LB 2369 G53 2016) and the APA Manual (BF76.7 .P83 2010) are available in the Library stacks and the reference collection. An abbreviated version of each style is also on the Library's website under "Research Tools" - MLA or APA. The abbreviated version contains examples for citing full-text articles from online databases and other selected sources. If you are unsure about when and why it is necessary to cite sources, see "Understanding Plagiarism" for a concise overview. Assistance with writing your paper is available at the VVC Writing Center. Always check with your instructor for the required citation format.