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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.
Subject keyword search terms related to Sociology include: Applied sociology • Assimilation • Communication • Educational sociology • Ethnic relations • Family • Friendship • Hegemony • Interpersonal relations • Marriage • Mass society • Population • Social psychology • Social structure • Societies • Sociology, rural • Sociology, urban • (Refer to the glossary in your textbook for other subject keywords.)
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:
A weekly online publication that covers current and controversial issues. Complete summaries, discussion covering all sides of the issue, and annotated bibliographies are provided for each topic. Users are able to view the current issue, search past issues, or browse by topic, pro/con, and date.
Tip: Click the “Browse Reports” tab at the top of the homepage for a list of popular topics and pro/con issues.
Full-text access to the Information Plus Reference Series eBook edition. The volumes in the series include background and statistical information on a variety of contemporary social issues including Abortion, Capital Punishment, Child Abuse, Immigration, and many more. Each issue presents current and historical information taken from court decisions, public laws, public opinion polls, etc. Also provides useful statistical tables and charts. (Current copies of the print edition are located in the Library Index-Reference section near the Reference Desk. Past editions are available in the Library stacks.)
Provides a complete one-stop resource for information on social issues. Access controversial viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to Web sites, and full-text magazine and newspaper articles.
Tip: Click the “Browse Issues” link in the site navigation bar for an A-Z list of popular topics.
Books and other Library materials can be searched using the Online Catalog. Books for Sociology are categorized under sections HM - HXin 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.
Providing an authoritative and comprehensive overview of the classical and the contemporary in the field of sociology. Featuring over 600 entries, from concise definitions to discursive essays, written by leading international academics. Entries cover schools, theories, theorists and debates, with substantial articles on all key topics in the field.
This multi-disciplinary encyclopedia covers curricular subjects related to divorce as examined by disciplines ranging from marriage and the family to anthropology, social and legal history, developmental and clinical psychology, and religion, all through a lens of cultural sociology. Features 550 signed entries in an A-to-Z format.
Professor John Scott has conducted a thorough review of all entries to ensure that they are concise, focused, and up to date. Revisions reflect current intellectual debates and social conditions, particularly in relation to global and multi-cultural issues. *Note: older edition is located in the STACKS.
This reference work presents ready-to-use facts from the fields of psychology, sociology, individual and family studies, and education. This encyclopedia covers topics as diverse as adolescence, cognitive development, education, family, gender differences, identity, longitudinal research, personality development, prenatal development, temperament, and more.
Each entry in this work defines key concepts and explains theoretical principles. Provides information on current data sets, regional and national organizations specializing in various dimensions of interpersonal violence, and relevant web sites. Serves as a quick reference guide to definitions, statistics, theories, policies, and prevention and intervention programs.
Articles covering core issues such as race, poverty, violence, economics, pregnancy and abortion have been updated and expanded, and completely new articles have been written on topics such as the Internet, privacy and epidemiology. *Available in print and e-book
This reference resource examines current, critical social issues in historical and global contexts. Nearly 150 in-depth, balanced, and thought-provoking articles cover a broad range of critically important topics: the environment, health, science, the media, ethnic conflicts, poverty, and immigration, to name just a few. Each original, signed article provides historical context as well as a thorough discussion and analysis of contemporary issues facing today's interconnected world. *Online only
Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, Eighth Edition, presents the extraordinary growth of research on aging individuals, populations, and the dynamic culmination of the life course, providing a comprehensive synthesis and review of the latest research findings in the social sciences of aging. *Online Only
More than 100 essays are arranged in these categories: Deviance & Social Control; Race & Ethnicity; Social Issues & Public Policy; Society & Technology; Sociology of Health & Medicine; and Sex, Gender & Sexuality. Essays include a number of sections including: Abstract; Overview; Further Insights; Issues; Terms & Concepts; Bibliography; and Further Reading. *Available in print and e-book
More than 100 essays are arranged in these categories: Social Movements & Collective Behavior; Stratification & Class in the United States; Social Interaction in Groups & Organizations; and Sociology of Religion. Essays include a number of sections including: Abstract; Overview; Further Insights; Issues; Terms & Concepts; Bibliography; and Further Reading. *Available in print and e-book
More than 100 insightful and thought-provoking essays arranged by: Day to Day Social Interactions; Family & Relationships; Socialization; Social Change; and Aging & Elderly Issues. Each essay includes: Abstract; Overview; Further Insights; Issues; Terms & Concepts; Bibliography; and Further Reading. *Available in print and E-book
With a synthesis of research on issues key to understanding family interaction, as well as an analysis of many theoretical and methodological choices made by researchers studying family communication, the Handbook serves to advance the field by reframing old questions and stimulating new ones. *Online only
In The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Sociology, a global range of experts explore the theory, methodology and innovations that make up this ever-expanding field. The Handbooks chapters have been organised into these sections: Theoretical Paradigms, Major Methodological Perspectives, Domains of Inquiry, Cultural Sociology in Contexts, Cultural Sociology, and Other Analytical Approaches. *Online only
Explores the vital role of the family as the fundamental social unit across the span of American history. Both the definition of who or what counts as family and representations of the "ideal" family have changed over time to reflect changing mores, changing living standards and lifestyles, and increased levels of social heterogeneity. Articles are signed with cross references. Also includes sections for Further Readings, Reader's Guide, Chronology of American Families, Resource Guide, Glossary, index. *Online only
This set contains historical and contemporary details of more than 170 major issues confronting American society. Entries cover the full range of social issues including: economic, scientific, environmental, criminal, legal, security, health, and media topics. Each entry discusses the historical origins of the problem or debate; past means used to deal with the issue; and the current controversy surrounding the issue.
The Information Plus® Reference Series gives readers a clear and comprehensive summary of the most up-to-date research, legislation, and more on each subject-all of which are vividly illustrated by numerous tables, charts, and graphs. Ideal for class assignments, reports, and research projects, the series has a distinct, easy-to-understand style that students will appreciate. *Available in print and e-book
Social Work Practice and Social Welfare Policy in the United States presents a history of the field from the perspective of elites, as well as service providers and recipients. A particularly unique feature of the book is that it chronicles and analyzes the development of social work practice theory.
The Sociology Student Writer's Manual and Reader's Guide is a practical guide to research, reading, and writing in sociology. This book is a set of instructions and exercises that sequentially develop citizenship, academic, and professional skills while providing students with knowledge about a wide range of sociological concepts, phenomena, and information sources.
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:
A multi-disciplinary database providing full-text articles for more than 6,600 magazines and scholarly journals, including full-text for nearly 6,000 peer-reviewed titles. In addition, it includes peer-reviewed full text for STEM research, as well as for the social sciences and humanities.
After typing a search term, use the “Select a Field” option to refine your search:
• Subject (searches subject terms within the database)
• Abstract (searches terms within the article abstract)
• All Text (search the entire article)
Under “Limit your results” check:
• "Full-Text" for full-text articles only
• "Scholarly Journals" for journal articles only
Includes more than 860 full-text newspapers (including the New York Times), providing more than 35 million full-text articles. In addition, the database features more than 857,000 television and radio news transcripts from CBS News, CNN, CNN International, NPR, etc.
Finding Web Sites
Some recommended Web sites for Sociology are listed below:
The ASA is a non-profit association dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. Founded in 1905, the association host annual meetings, publishes 9 professional journals and magazines, and a membership of over 13,000.
An organization established in 1990 dedicated to furthering the scientific study of society among interested persons within the state of California. Hosts an annual conference and publishes a newsletter.
The PSAs mission is to adavance scholarly research in sociology and the majority of its members are graduate students. The PSA serves the Western-Pacific region of North America including parts of Canada and Mexico. Host an annual conference and publishes the professional journal "Sociological Perspectives."
Published annually by the U.S. Department of Labor, the OOH provides career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.
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) TheAPA 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" - MLAorAPA. 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 theVVC Writing Center. Always check with your instructor for the required citation format.