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SOC 497: Senior Research Seminar

Research Guide for SOC 497

Access Library Resources Online

Trying to access library resources online? Follow the instructions on the Online Access to Library Resources page to access library databases, articles, and ebooks, both on-campus and off-campus.

Search Summon for Articles, Books, and more

Article Databases

Locate articles from these databases:

Sociological Abstracts - for articles about sociology, social work, and other social sciences 

Proquest Sociology - for articles about sociology and social work

For additional databases, see our Sociology databases page

Search FAQs

1. How do I search for my topic?

  • Identify the main ideas of your topic and use those as your search words
  • Each article has tags assigned to it, words or shorts phrases that make them searchable - you want your search words to match those tags
  • Words like factors, effects, challenges, issues are not usually used as tags - don't include them as search words
  • Example: The topic for your research project is: What are the sources of stress that first-generation college students face?
    • A search about this topic could be: stress first generation college student

2. How do I focus the search hits to meet my assignment requirements?

  •  Use Refine Your Search in Summon to focus your search hits to just scholarly books and articles
    • Check  Scholarly & Peer Review
    • Check Journal article, Book/ebook, and Book chapter under Content Type
  • Scroll the Publication Date bar to a recent year to focus your search hits to current research

3. I have too many irrelevant search hits. How do I focus them?

  • When you find an article that looks interesting, look at its assigned tags (words) 
    • Add any relevant tags to your search
    • This will also help you develop your research questions and search for books and articles for them 
    • Example: I find an article that discusses the social support of first generation college students
    • One of its tags is social support, so I add "social support" to my Summon search
    • "social support" searches for social support as a phrase, not separate words
  • When you find an article that you like and want to use, click on the Cited By number beside Web of Science to open a list of articles that have cited that article.
    • Following the research trail like this helps you build your research project

4. How do I know my search words match the tags assigned to articles about my research question?

  • As you scroll through the search hits, look at the Subjects (tags) assigned to the relevant articles you find, and see if they match your search words 
  • Subjects (tags) also help you identify the specific issues around your topic so you can give it direction and develop it into a focused research question
  • To add a word to your search that is a synonym for another search word, combine the words using OR and put them in parentheses
    • Example: Some articles are tagged with Latino, some with Hispanic
    • Search: (latino OR hispanic) to find articles or books that are tagged with either of these words

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