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SOCI 310

Finding Resources

In order to find sources for your research paper, the best place to start is in a database.

Databases are collections of journals with searchable content to find articles on your topic. Most databases cover different topics and have different content. However, there can be some overlap. This guide suggests databases that are useful for sociology and sociology related topics.

To find an article:

1. Open the database

2. Use keywords to search for articles on your topic.

  • Keywords are basic terms that describe your topic
  • Articles found in the database that contains your keywords
  • The more accurate your keywords are, the better the results
  • If the articles are off topic, try finding new keywords and alternative keywords
  • If your results are too narrow, try finding more broad keywords
  • If your results are too broad, try to narrow your keywords

3. If you need a peer reviewed article, click the "peer reviewed" button. Often you will find this on the top or to the side of the results under Limiters. 

4. Look through the results, evaluate your articles for:

  • Content: are the articles on topic? Note: not all the results have to be perfect articles for you, just start taking a look to see overall if you are going in the right direction.
    • Yes: good, keep looking through them
    • No: How are they off? Too specific? Not specific enough? Not on what you thought they would be on? See Step 2 ABOVE.
    • Sort of? Keep looking through your results and give some a more in-depth look to see what the articles are examining.
  • Relevance: are the articles relevant to your project? The content and topic might be good, but the articles are not relevant to what you are looking for. Usually, this means that you need to change a keyword to make the search more specific. Try adding another keyword.
  • Alternative keywords: Read through the abstracts and subject terms the AUTHORS USE TO DESCRIBE THEIR WORK to find more and different keywords to adjust your search.

6. Start reading your articles!


Common Topics within Social Science

This list, originally compiled by San Jose State University librarian Kathryn Blackmer-Reyes, includes common topics within social science. These make useful keywords when searching our databases. One way to help create your topic or research inquiry is to choose an approach from the first column and link it to one or two topics in the remaining columns.

Approaches Topics    
An analysis of... Abortion Gang violence Racial profiling
A comparison between... Affirmative action Gay rights Racism
The consequences of... Age discrimination Genetically modified food Rape
The effectiveness of.... Addiction and substance abuse Gentrification Retail profiling
The efficacy of.... Animal rights Global warming Recycling and conservation
The impact of.... Birth control Gun control Right to work
Findings from.... Bulimia nervosa/Anorexia nervosa Gun rights Same-sex marriage
The relationship between... Bullying Hate crimes Sex trade
A review of.... Campus crime Hazing Sexism
Capital punishment/Death penalty Health care Sexual harassment
Child abuse Home foreclosures Shopping while black
Child labor Human trafficking Single parenting
Classism Hunger Social media and privacy
Climate change Immigration/immigrants Spousal abuse/Intimate partner abuse
Cloning Illiteracy Steroid use in sports
Corporal punishment Legalization of marijuana Suicide
Cyber bullying Mass murder Sweat shops
Date rape Mental health Teen pregnancy
Debt Minimum wage Terrorism
Disaster relief Obesity Unemployment
Domestic violence Opiods Union busting
Driving while black Outsourcing jobs Vigilantism
Eating disorders Police brutality Violence in schools
Education/Charter schools Pollution Voter disenfranchisement
Environmental pollution Population growth Voting rights restrictions
Environmental racism Pornography War
Equal pay Poverty Workplace violence
Euthanasia/Mercy killing/Assisted suicide Prayer in school
Excessive force by law enforcement Prisons/Sentencing
Felony disenfranchisement Prostitution

Interlibrary Services

We don't own it?

Interlibrary Services (ILS) is available to request books, articles, and other items.  Often the Rapido link is provided directly in the database and is the easiest way to submit a request.  Follow the "Get it from another library" link or visit the InterLibrary Loan Services Page and click "Submit InterLibrary Loan Request" button. Use the form to complete your request.

To learn more about the Rapido and ILS services, view the ILS library news announcement 

Meriam Library | CSU, Chico