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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons


A guide to Sociology resources and library research.

TOOLS for Getting Started

Assignment Calculators/Planners & Understanding Your Assignment

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Image from Giorgio Montersino via Flickr

Concept (or Mind) Mapping Tools

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Electronic Reference Resources

For topic ideas try looking at:

Relevant current events

Class discussions or readings

Presentations at relevant conferences

Articles in discipline related journals or trade publications


The following electronic resources are useful for topic ideas and getting background information on topics of interest.

CQ Researcher 

Browse by topic or conduct a "Quick search" for a broad term.  The results should give you related issues to consider focusing your research on, and you can link to reports on these issues that include overviews, outlook, chronology, maps/graphs, etc.

Gale Virtual Reference Center

Included in its "Social Science" section, this database provides us with the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice 2nd Ed, the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood: In History and Society, and the Encyclopedia of Population.  Featured in "Multicultural Studies" is the Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America. Included in its "History" section you can find the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture and more.

Oxford Reference Collection

Provides the following reference resources: Dictionary of the Social Sciences; Science, Technology and Society; and A Dictionary of Sociology.  Click on "Subjects & Books" for a complete listing. 

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center *

Try a "Subject Guide" search for a broad topic like "Social class."  You'll get a list of related subjects and subdivisions of the topic that include links to resources in the database.

Sage Reference Online

Includes reference titles covering the following subjects: African American Studies; Aging & Gerontology; Anthropology; Criminology & Criminal Justice; Family Studies; Gender & Sexuality Studies; Health & Social Welfare; Social Issues; Sociology; Urban Studies & Planning; and more!

Types of resources

What you need... Resource to go to...
Basic facts, names, dates, definitions, topic overview
Reference resources like encyclopedias; reliable websites
Current information, written for the general public Newspapers; Magazines
In depth info on a topic Books
Original materials created at same time as event Primary sources (diaries; speech; interviews; news footage, etc.)
Detailed analysis of a topic/question/problem written for professionals in a particular field Scholarly journal articles