Sociology 380: Intro to Research Methods (St. George)

Fall 2015

Social Sciences Librarian

Liz Cooper's picture
Liz Cooper
Zimmerman Library, 2nd Floor, Herzstein Latin American Reading Room

ASA Citation Style


1. You aren't finding anything, or only one or two things that don't really seem quite right.

  • Talk with your professor or a librarian, you might need to rethink your topic.
  • Reexamine your search terms
    • Try out some synonyms or related terms.
    • Use fewer search terms (adding search terms will only make it worse).
  • Make sure you are searching in the right places - see the recommended resources in this guide.

2. You've found a few GREAT articles or books, but you need 6 or 50 more.

Check the Works Cited or Bibliography or References lists from the great sources that you've already located.  

Find Scholarly Sources

Try this first:

Other databases of interest:

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, Sociological 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.
  • 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.