Social Sciences

A guide to finding resources for your Social Science courses

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Full text not available?

Many of the articles in the databases are full-text. This means that you can print, email, or save the entire article from the database.

For articles that are not full-text, you may place an electronic request by using the Article Linker button, or by submitting a request online via ILL.

ILL Guide and FAQs

Scholarly articles

Many professors require students to cite scholarly journal articles in their research papers. Scholarly journals contain articles written by scholars for scholars. Articles are reviewed by other scholars before they are published. This is called peer-review.  

Many databases allow you to restrict your searches to scholarly journals, sometimes called "refereed" or "peer reviewed" journals.

There are two different kinds of scholarly articles sociologists cite frequently in their work.  Research articles present the findings from a specific study.  They typically start with a review of the literature and a description of how the study contributes our knowledge of the subject.  They then describe their research methods (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed) and present their findings. Review articles summarize the research being done on a particular topic and/or the theoretical approaches commonly taken.  They will often reference many research articles recently published on a topic.  Review articles are a great place to start if you want to learn more about a subfield of sociology! 

Take a look at a sample issue of the American Journal of Sociology for some examples of research articles. 

Take a look at a sample issue of the Annual Review of Sociology for some examples of review articles.

Be good to your brain and smart with your research - avoid cognitive overload. Start by having your thesis, topic, or question clear in your mind. 

  1. Read the title and author's names. Do the words in the title make reference to your thesis, question or topic? Are the authors credentialed (PhDs, D., etc.)? 
  2. Read the abstract. The abstract or summary provides information about the project. Often, the abstract contains the results or conclusion of the study too. Is this still related to your topic? If yes, keep reading, if not, move on to another resource. 
  3. Read the conclusion. This is where you will find the results of the study without the equations and other research jargon. Is this still working for your project? Continue on. Not working? Move on to a different resource. 
  4. Read the introduction. This is where the author's lay out the plan for the article and the steps they will take to accomplish their research goals. Is this still working for your project? Continue on... 
  5. Read the first sentence of each paragraph. The first sentence is the topic sentence. This will give you an idea if the paragraph has something useful to you. 
  6. Check out the references, too. The references in the article might lead you to other research that is useful to your project. 
  7. Read the whole article in order. Pay attention to the discussion, methods, and results to check for more useful data. 
  8. Be sure to keep track. Keep a citation for the article. This will usually include a link that will take you back to the article if you need to. Also be sure to take some notes to remind yourself which parts of the article are useful to you. 

Top scholarly journals

The company Clarivate publishes annual Journal Citation Reports, which list journals by field and "impact factor."  Impact factor refers to the average number of times articles published in the past two years have been cited in the last year.  The sociology journals with the highest impact factors are: 

Other highly cited journals include:

How to find and search within a specific journal

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