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Sociology: Articles & Databases

Use this Guide to help start your research in Sociology

Sociology Databases

Search through subject specific databases to find scholarly journal articles and more:

Can't Find the Full Text?

If a database doesn't have the full text of an article you are looking for, you can copy and paste the title of the article into our catalog to see if we might have that item here. If we don't have it, request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Filtering Your Results

Most databases have Filters/Limits - use these to narrow down your search to the specific dates, article type, or population that you are researching.

Here is an example of limits in a database, all databases look slightly different but most have these options.

Keyword and Subject Searching

Keywords Subjects
Natural language words that describe your topic Pre-defined "controlled vocabulary" that describe what an item is about 
More flexible search - looks for anywhere the words appear in the record Less flexible search - only the subject fields will be searched
Broader search, but may yield irrelevant results Targeted search; results are usually more relevant to the topic, but may miss some variations

Keyword searching is how we normally start a search. Pull out important words or phrases from your topic. 

Subject Terms and/or Headings are pre-defined terms that are used to describe the content of an item. These terms are a controlled vocabulary and function similarly to hashtags on social media.

We are indebted to the MIT What are subject headings and keywords? box for some concepts displayed here.

In the Catalog, subject headings are displayed under "Description" in the record of an item. Click on the arrow to the left of "Description" and then scroll down to the section called "Subjects."

 

 

In the Databases, subject headings may be listed as Descriptors, Subjects and/or Subject Headings and are typically located in the Abstract and/or Details of an article.

Google and Academic Databases

Google, and more appropriately Google Scholar, can be valid places to search for articles and organizations. However, subject specific databases will have more advanced search options and articles. Here are some key differences between databases and Google.

  Library Databases Google Google Scholar
Types of
Information
You Can Find
  • Scholarly journal articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Reviews
  • Theses & dissertations
  • Empirical evidence
  • Popular, commercial, educational websites
  • Organization websites
  • Directories
  • Current news & events
  • Few free journal articles
    & books (many academic publications are not free)
  • Educational websites
  • Theses & dissertations
  • Conference publications
    & presentations
  • Scholarly journal articles
    (but access will be restricted
    to free resources,
    see below for how to set
    up SLC links)
Credibility & Review
  • Subject specific books
    and articles
  • Evaluated for accuracy
    and credibility
  • Lack of control allows
    anyone to publish
    material
  • Usually not evaluated for accuracy & credibility
  • Some resources evaluated
    for accuracy & credibility,
    but not through Google,
    so need to verify review process for each publication
Discovery
  • Database functionalities
    allow users to search
    for & find more relevant results
  • Less ability to search
    for & retrieve precise
    results
  • Not releasing 
    information on
    algorithms, paid
    products can float
    to the top
  • Less ability to search for
    & retrieve precise results
  • Not releasing information
    on algorithms, therefore
    it is not known why
    results float to the top

 

Quick Tip

Be sure to use commands, called Boolean Operators, to further specify your search.

Journals to Consider

Have Questions?