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What Researchers Do:

TOPIC – Define the research question/statement

SOURCES – Identify the information need. Do you need background info? A research article? A literature review article? etc. What databases would include this type of information on your topic?

KEYWORDS – Select the words you will be using to find information effectively and efficiently (Use a variety of words to describe your topic/concepts. Find subject headings that relate to your topic/concept).

EVALUATION – Evaluate information critically. Is the info relevant, reliable, current, appropriate?

USE--Organize, synthesize and communicate information to make your point/argument.

CITE--Ethically and legally access and use info by avoiding plagiarism and citing all your sources.

Finding Articles

When you start research for any project in Sociology, search in one or all of the following databases:

Image result for proQuest

Sociology Database (ProQuest) -Sociology database from Proquest provides access to the full-text and images of more than 310 journals in sociology and social work.

Sociological Abstract (ProQuest) -  Sociology, social work, psychology, anthropology - over 250 journals

SocINDEX with Full Text (EBSCO)  - SocINDEX with Full Text covers a broad range of studies, including gender studies, criminal justice, social psychology, religion, racial studies and social work. In addition to full-text journals, SocINDEX with Full Text contains informative abstracts for core coverage journals dating as far back as 1895.

Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) - Provides over 13,780 indexed and abstracted journals including 9,000 full-text journals and 7,850 peer-reviewed journals.

SAGE Journals -  Provides access to over 440 Sage journal titles in the social sciences, humanities, medicine, engineering, and physical and life sciences.

Social Sciences Full Text (EBSCO) - Sociology, psychology, anthropology, geography, economics, political science, law - over 600 periodicals, nearly 400 are peer-reviewed. Full text coverage begins in 1994, abstracting begins in 1984 and indexing begins in 1983.

Sage Research Methods Suite - SAGE Research Methods Cases is a collection of hundreds of case studies of real social research. SAGE Research Methods Datasets is a collection of teaching datasets that can be used to support the teaching of quantitative and qualitative analytical methods used in the social sciences.

Women and Social Movements in the United States - Organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S. between 1600 and 2000, Women and Social Movements in the United States.

Historical Abstracts - World history from 1450 to present (excluding U.S. and Canada) - over 2,100 journals.

Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) - This is the searchable Web version of the Hispanic American Periodicals Index. HAPI is a major resource for information about Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean basin, the United States-Mexico border region, and Hispanics in the United States.

JSTOR - Offers interdisciplinary content including approximately 2,600 academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials.

Anthropological Fieldwork Online This link opens in a new window-
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  • Anthropological Fieldwork Online brings the fieldwork underpinning the ethnographies of the early 20th century into the digital world. This fully indexed, primary-source database unfolds the historical development of anthropology from a global perspective—with archival collections from North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific — including field notebooks, images, and recordings of the early- to mid-20th century.


AnthroSource - Contains current issues for 15 of the AAA's peer-reviewed publications as well as an electronic archive of all AAA journals.

Other databases that include articles of relevance to sociology and social structures include:


This link opens in a new windowA company and industry intelligence database, BizMiner covers industry financial ratios, balance sheet and detailed profit and loss statements for 10,000 lines of business, including some hard to find small businesses that don't exist as large industries.


Research Articles

Basic components of a research article:


Title: is a concise description of the research report. It should convey appropriate information about the study or studies presented in the report.

Abstract: provides a brief but comprehensive summary of the research.

Introduction: sets the research in a context (it provides the "big picture"), provides a review of related research, and develops the hypotheses for the research.  The introduction describes the problem, develops the theoretical and empirical background for the research questions, and elaborates a rationale for all parts of the study.

Method (or methodology): is a description of how the research was conducted, including who the participants were, the design of the study, what the participants did, and what measures were used. The detail is important so the reader can determine the appropriateness of the method for answering the scientific questions. It is also important for another researcher to be able to replicate the study. This section reads a lot like a recipe.

Results: describes the outcomes of the measures of the study. This section contains the summaries and analyses of the measures obtained in the study. This is where the "answers" to the research questions will be found.

Discussion: contains the interpretations and implications of the study. There may be more that one study in the report; in this case, there are usually separate Method and Results sections for each study followed by a General Discussion that ties all the research together.

References: contains information about all the articles and books that were cited in the report. The reference citations are used to support statements made in the article.

Modified from  @Department of Psychology, Academic Technologies for Learning, and University of Alberta, 1997.
Retrieved 10/1/06 from 

Search Tips: Finding Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Use a database that indexes peer-reviewed journals, such as Sociological Abstracts or Social Sciences Full Text.
  • On the Search screen in any database, click the option (if offered) to limit results to "Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Journals."

  • Scan the abstract of any article to identify words typically used in original research, such as "methods," "survey," "data," "results," "findings" or "conclusions." If the abstract includes some combination of these terms, there's a good chance that it is of scholarly or peer-reviewed nature.

  • Still unsure if the article comes from a peer-reviewed journal?  Identify the name of the journal in which the article was originally published, and find the publication's home site on the Internet.  Look for information "About" the journal and its editorial standards.  If the journal says that submissions are reviewed by an editorial panel of the author's peers, then it's a peer-reviewed journal!


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