SOCIAL RESEARCH METHODS
A Guide to Library Resources for Sociology 380
Social Research Methods introduces the foundations of social research and to the major types of research methods employed in sociology. Provides exposure to the major tools and terminology of social research, including the use of computers in sociology. Topics include: research design, finding and using sociology literature, measurement, sampling, survey research, field methods, use of available data, quantitative data analysis and presentation, and computer resources for research.
Welcome! This site has been created to assist you finding and using library resources for your Sociology 380 research assignments. Our library is one of the largest publicly funded university library in the world. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it is truly a treasure trove for scholars. All of the University of Illinois Library’s resources are available to you as you do your research–so start exploring, have fun, and don’t hesitate to ask questions!
Finding background information about a topic is an important step of the research process. Consulting a handbook or subject-specific encyclopedia can help you put your research in a broader context and help point you to areas for further research.
Annual Review of Sociology – a compilation of review articles summarizing the current state of research on a particular topic. An excellent roadmap to the current state research in a particular area, this is also a great source of citations to current and retrospective publications. The online version allows you to search the full text of all issues from volume 1 (1975) to present.
Guidance on Social Science Methods
For this assignments in this course, it may be helpful to consult handbooks that describe methods for doing research in sociology and related disciplines.
Sage Research Methods Online– an online collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and e-books on research methods. Includes both theoretical information and definitions, as well as practical advice on designing and implementing research projects, analyzing research data, and writing up results. Search by method or technique, or browse the methods map to find related terms.
Books, Papers and Websites about Ethnographic Research– a list of books at the University of Illinois on ethnographic research methods, compiled by the library for Ethnography of the University classes.
More print resources (available in the Social Sciences, Health and Education Library Reference Circulating Collection):
- Developing Effective Research Proposals (300.72 P966d)
- Approaches to Social Research (300.72 Ap652010)
- Research Methods in the Social Sciences (300.72 r3119)
- Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research (001.42 C865d)
- The Sage Handbook of Sociology (301 S129)
- The Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods (300.72 L585s)
- Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook (300.72 Si395d)
- The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. 4th ed. (Q. 300.72 H1915 2011)
- The Survey Kit. 2nd ed. (300.723 Su793 2001)
- Data Collection and Analysis. 2nd ed. (300.72 D262 2006)
- SPSS for Windows Step by Step (300.285536 G293s 2011)
- SPSS Demystified (300.28555 Y72s 2011)
- Ethnographic Methods (305.8001 Or336e 2012)
- The Ethnographer’s Toolkit. (305.80072 Et38)
Hints to find more handbooks on social science research: Browse the shelves at the Social Sciences, Health and Education Library. The call number range for social science research methodology is 300-301. The New Book, Reference and Reference Circulating areas have the newest guides and handbooks.
University of Illinois Background Information
- Books, Papers and Websites about the University of Illinois– a list of books, articles, dissertations and more about various topics in University of Illinois history, administration, student life, etc.
Ethnography of the University Resources
- Archive of Ethnography of the University student research projects at UIUC (IDEALS) – Browse student projects from past Ethnography of the University Initiative courses for examples of ethnographic research projects that have been done by other students on the University of Illinois campus. Hint: Try browsing the subjects, and search for terms related to the population, student group, topic, etc that you will be studying.
- Ethnography of the University Initiative homepage
FIND PRIMARY SOURCES
Primary Sources about the University of Illinois
Student Life and Culture Archives Resources
The Student Life and Culture (SLC) Archives contains primary sources on University of Illinois student life and historical issues.
University of Illinois Archives
Plan out your search statement
- Start with the “key concept” terms from your “Research Question and Key Concepts” worksheet.
- Enter your keyword search in the search box(es). Use a subject search if available.
- Use the HELP screens in the database to find what truncation symbols are used.
- If desired, limit to Peer Reviewed (items approved by experts in the field) and to a range of publication dates.
Search the database and evaluate the results.
- Think carefully about the results of your search. Narrow or broaden your search as needed. Repeat your search using synonyms from your “Research Question and Key Concepts” worksheet as needed.
- Mark articles you’d like to read.
- Print, download or email citations and print full-text articles.
- Click on the Discover button to link to the full-text of the article or to see where it is available in print.
- If the University Library does not have the article online or in print, use Interlibrary Loan to request the article via email.
Recommended Article Databases
- Sociological Abstracts – The preeminent database for scholarly journals in sociology. Includes thousands of journal articles plus conference papers, book reviews, and dissertations.
- SocINDEX with Full-Text– Provides access to articles from major journals in sociology and related fields.
- ERIC– ERIC is a national education database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Presently the largest education database in the world.
- Higher Education Abstracts. 1984-present.- Contains abstracts from journals, conference proceedings, and research reports pertaining to participants in higher education, their functions, and environment.
- You may also want to try… Article Databases in Sociology
Library catalogs are used for two purposes. First, if you know exactly what you are looking for, for example you know the exact title of a book or journal or an author’s name. Second, you can use library catalogs to find materials that might be helpful to you by doing subject and keyword searching.
- Online Library Catalog – Look here to find books, DVDs, magazines or journals containing articles that you need, and many other resources. In addition to the 12 million volumes we have on this campus, you can connect to over 70 other libraries in Illinois and request that books be sent to you. When you find something you want in the catalog, write down the following:
Location – in which library the item is kept (or libraries, if we have multiple copies)
Call Number – this number is essential for finding the item on the shelf
Status – is it available for you to check out?
- WorldCat and Interlibrary Loan – The places to verify citations for books and request books and articles you cannot find elsewhere. Ordering books and journals via Interlibrary Loan is free and generally fairly quick.
- Statistics about the University of Illinois and Higher Education– Databases containing statistics about the University of Illinois students, faculty and staff, as well as databases containing nationwide higher education statistics. Ex: Enrollment, salaries, rankings, demographics, degrees conferred, etc.
- Sources of Social Sciences, Health and Education Statistics- selected sources of descriptive statistics in the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL), focusing on health, education and areas within the social sciences, such as crime, population and demography, and arms control. Links to international sources of statistical information are also included.
Guidelines for citing electronic and print resources are available from the Undergraduate Library’s Citation Styles guide.
Need help collecting and organizing your citations and producing a list of works cited? Citation management tools can help! The guide “ Citation Managers” helps users choose a citation management tool and provides links to other guides on specific options like Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.
Ask-A-Librarian for Help with Your Research
Use our Ask-A-Librarian Service to IM, chat, email, phone or find a reference librarian.
Contact a librarian to request an appointment for an in-depth Research Consultation.
Finding Your Way Around
There are over 25 departmental libraries on our campus, and sometimes it may be difficult to determine where to find the resources you need. For your class, the library that you will be using most is the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL). We are located in SSHEL North (Room 100) and SSHEL South (Room 101) of the Main Library building. Do no hesitate to come in and ask one of our energetic and helpful information desk assistants.
More Help Using the Library
- How Do I…? – A series of brief tutorials about library services.