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SOC 201: Contemporary Social Problems

Research Guide for SOC 201

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.

Mardigian Search (searches all the library's databases at once)

Advanced Search

Search FAQs

1. How do I search for sources about my social problem?

  • Identify the keywords of your topic and use those as your search words. 
  • Each book and article has tags assigned to it, words or shorts phrases that make each book or article searchable
    • You want your search words to match those tags
    • Words like impact, effect, or factors are not used as tags

2. I have too many search hits. How do I find what I need for my assignment? 

  • Use Refine Your Search options to focus your search hits so they're more relevant to your assignment needs
  • You can focus your search hits to:
    • peer-reviewed or scholarly articles
    • content type, such as journal articles or book chapters
    • discipline, sources relevant to specific disciplines
    • subject terms, to help you focus your topic and sources to specific subject areas of interest
    • publication date, so you get the most recent research 
    • language, such as just English articles
  • Example: for your Sociology assignments, you should use peer-reviewed, scholarly sources and books and articles with up to date research:
    • Under Refine Your Search: 
      • check Peer Review and then Journal Article under Content Type to focus search hits to peer-reviewed articles
      • check Book Chapters under Content Type to focus search hits to scholarly book chapters
      • check Sociology and Social Interest under Discipline to focus search hits to those relevant to sociology
    • Under Publication Date:
      • move the scroll bar over to 2008 to present to focus search hits to sources with up-to-date research

3. I can't find anything on my topic. What do I do?

  • The search words you're using to describe your topic may not match the tags that have been assigned to books and articles on that topic
    • Look through the Subject terms in the Refine Your Search sidebar and check the boxes beside the topic areas that interest you
  • When you find an article that looks interesting, look at its assigned tags 
    • Add any relevant tags to your search
    • This will also help you develop your research questions and search for articles about your specific research questions 
  • There may not be research tying your main ideas together yet
    • Try searching for your main ideas separately and linking their findings together
  • If you've found one article that's relevant for your topic, look through the sources in its References list to see if any of them are also relevant to your research
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