Sociology Research Guide
- Find Background Info
- Find Books
- Find Articles
- Find Data
- Citing Sources
Find Background Info
Background sources, such as specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, are an essential piece of the research process. They can help you:
- Gather information about your topic and understand the scope of the research.
- Locate reliable sources and clarify keywords.
- Pinpoint important authors, texts, ideas, and key words about the research area—knowing what the primary phrases and concepts are will help you a lot as you are searching library databases and online sources.
Global Issues in Context
Global Issues in Contexts integrates international news, global viewpoints, reference materials, country information, primary source documents, videos, and statistics. This is a useful database when you are doing background research of searching for a topic.
Credo Reference is multi-publisher collection of high-quality reference titles covering everything from the arts to astronomy, law to literature, and science to Shakespeare. The collection currently contains over 162 titles taken from 36 different reference publishers and more titles are being added. Available titles also include a range of multimedia options including thousands of high-quality diagrams, photographs, maps, and audio files.
Credo Reference offers the following relevant titles and many more:
- Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology
- Collins Dictionary of Sociology
- Dictionary of Race, Ethnicity and Culture
- Encyclopedia of Race and Racism
- Key Concepts in Critical Social Theory
- Key Concepts in Feminist Theory and Research
- The Lesbian and Gay Movements
- The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology
- World of Sociology
Print and e-books are valuable sources for academic research. They will help you gain an overview of your topic and often contain in-depth information about the scholarship or history of research on a subject. Some books are written by single authors, while others include essays or chapters by multiple scholars within a discipline. Don’t let the length of books intimidate you because you don’t need to read them from cover to cover. Look at the table of contents and index to find the sections that are relevant to your work.
Find Books Using GriffinSearch
You can use GriffinSearch to find print and e-books available through Giovale Library. To get started, search by keyword or type in the title of a book here:
WorldCat.org lets you search for books, articles, videos, and other material that are available in libraries worldwide. If you are doing in-depth research on a topic and are considering requesting resources through interlibrary loan, WorldCat can help you discover resources that might not be in the Giovale Library collection.
InterLibrary Loan (ILL)
InterLibrary Loan is a service where patrons of one library can borrow books and other materials and access journal articles that are owned by another library.
Utah Academic Library Consortium
Giovale Library participates in the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) and Westminster College students have reciprocal circulation privileges at UALC partner libraries. Each UALC library has different circulation policies, but all require current, valid, legal photo identification and proof of current enrollment at Westminster. Some libraries may also require other verification methods, so it is recommended that you contact the member library you are interested in for details.
Popular Titles and Features Texts
The Giovale Library provides access to a number of subject databases that you can use to find journal articles on topics within a specific discipline or field of study. The databases listed on this page are those that are most useful for finding research published in the field of Sociology.
SocINDEX with Full Text provides access to full text high literature in the field of sociology. The database features more than 2,066,400 records with subject headings from a 19,750+ term sociological thesaurus designed by subject experts and expert lexicographers.
PsycINFO contains citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books, dissertations, and technical reports, all in the field of psychology and the psychological aspects of related disciplines, such as medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, education, pharmacology, physiology, linguistics, anthropology, business, and law. Journal coverage, spanning 1887-present, includes international material selected from more than 1,500 periodicals written in over 35 languages. Current chapter and book coverage includes worldwide English-language material published from 1987-present. Over 60,000 references are added annually through weekly updates.
GenderWatch is a full text database of publications that focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas. GenderWatch supports programs in business, education, literature and the arts, health sciences, history, political science, public policy, sociology and contemporary culture, gender and women's studies, and more. Publications include academic and scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, NGO, and special reports... GenderWatch contains archival material, in some cases as far back as the 1970's.
Academic Search Ultimate
Academic Search Ultimate is an interdisciplinary database. It contains academic and popular sources. Academic Search Ultimate provides full text and indexing for academic, social sciences, humanities, general science, education, and multi-cultural journals.
GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other material available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases.
Project Muse offers full text coverage of journals and ebooks in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics, with a focus on resources published by university presses.
You may want to use data sets for your research, below is a list of organizations that allow you to search for data. As always, if you can’t find what you are looking for, contact the Library.
United States Census Data
The Census Bureau is the leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy.
USA.gov Data and Statistics
Find data about the U.S., such as maps and population, demographic, and economic data.
Pew Research Center
A nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Pew Research Center conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.
Google Dataset Search
Dataset Search enables users to find datasets stored across the Web through a simple keyword search. The tool surfaces information about datasets hosted in thousands of repositories across the Web, making these datasets universally accessible and useful.
Provides data on the health and well-being of children and families in the United States.
World Health Organization
Includes data & statistics, reports, country profiles, and fact sheets. Organized by topics and countries.
Access State of Utah datasets.
Citing your sources helps you avoid plagiarism and shows that you’ve done research to become knowledgeable about your topic. Proper citations allow your readers to track down your sources and help them understand how your research is connected to the work of others in your field. On this page, you will find guides and tools to help you format citations, and you will learn about what constitutes plagiarism.
How to Cite Sources
With all of the many ways that you can plagiarize someone’s work, either accidentally or on purpose, how can you make sure that you’re citing your sources correctly, each and every time? One way is to become familiar with reputable sources that will help you either learn or confirm that how you are citing your source is correct.
PurdueOWL contains writing guides, grammatical rules, and citation help that will assist with many writing projects. The APA Citation Guide are a thorough resource on everything you need to know about APA formatting and style.
Zotero is the ideal tool to gather, analyze, and document all of your sources. It is compatible with GriffinSearch and other library databases, allowing you to save citations and articles while you research. Visit the Zotero website to find out more, or stop by the library for some help getting started.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism means taking someone else’s work or ideas and trying to pass them off as your own. Plagiarism can either be intentional or unintentional, and even the most careful writer could accidentally plagiarize without fully knowing it. For example, did you know that it is plagiarism even if you misattribute a quote to the wrong author? Even if you cited the source and took care to put it in your bibliography, if the wrong person received credit for someone else’s work, it can still be considered plagiarism. Other forms of plagiarism include:
- Copying and pasting someone else’s work and turning it in as your own
- Using a quote from someone without giving them credit
- Not putting a quotation in quotation marks
- Changing a few words here and there, but keeping the main ideas of a sentence without giving credit to the original author
- Copying pictures from Google or another website to use without saying where you found the image
Of course, all of these scenarios of potential plagiarism can be avoided by knowing how to properly cite your sources.