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Sociology 331: Social Movements (Fitzpatrick)

Getting started with background information

Poster for the showing of "Arriba las Mujeres"If you picked a topic with which you are unfamiliar, you can probably find an overview in one of these resources (it's a good idea to know a little something* about the topic before you look for monographs and scholarly articles):

  • Textbook and class readings: Often the best place to start
  • Credo Reference  
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library  
  • Google  Make sure to evaluate the website for authority, credibility, format and relevance.  If you're not sure what I mean by "format" or "authority," you might want to just use one of the resources above.

* 1-min rule:  You can talk about your topic for 1 minute uninterrupted, without consulting outside sources or repeating yourself.

Discover the details

Black, yellow, white, and red flag with a  figure in the middleWhen you know a bit about your topic and are ready to really dive in.... 


Find scholarly monographs and other books concerning a single topic

Journal articles

Find scholarly journal articles


Search tips

A quick word about search engines (i.e. Google) vs. library databases

The search box looks the same, but the underlying structure is different.  Google and it's brethren are easy-going, they'll take what you give them and return something fairly relevant.  Library databases (the library catalog, Historical Abstracts, etc.) are picky.  They want you to be brief and choose your search terms carefully.  

General advice

  • Keep it simple - limit your first searches to two or three keywords.
  • Separate concepts go in separate boxes (if there are multiple search boxes).
  • Try variations of your search terms, i.e., drug abuse, drug use, substance abuse, addiction, illegal drugs.
  • Use Boolean operators: AND (narrows search, joins different concepts) OR (broadens search, joins similar concepts)
  • Use the built in limiters - like date or era or peer-reviewed or language.

Tips for specific resources

  • Google Scholar  When off-campus, click on the Scholar Preferences link (upper right), go to the Library Links search box and search for the University of New Mexico.  Check the box next to "University of New Mexico - Check full text @ UNM."  This means that you'll be able to access the full-text of articles from off-campus when using Google Scholar.
  • Historical Abstracts Create an EBSCOhost account to save your articles online.
  • JSTOR Under "Narrow by" check the box next to "Article" to avoid being inundated with book reviews.
  • Project Muse Under "Type of Content" check the box next to "Articles Only."
  • Worldcat Use the limiters in the "Refine Your Search" column to make your search more specific.