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Sociology 216: The City : Introduction

Purpose of this guide

This guide provides an introduction to conducting library research for SOC 216.  It includes:  

  • List of core databases to use to find scholarly articles 
  • Tips for advanced smart searching
  • Search Strategies for book searching  
  • Link to citation styles

Sugested Research Starting Points

  1. Use known sources as jumping off points. Trace citations from the notes and bibliographies
  2. Follow the scholarly conversation on your topic by conducting citation searching
  3. Search for books in the library catalog
  4. Search for articles in the databases
  5. Don't forget to attribute all source and use a consistent citation guide

Steps to a Successful Research Process

1. Identify the type of resources you are looking for

  • research (scholarly) sources ( the voices of scholars / researchers published in journals and/or books)
  • primary sources such as data, government documents, news stories, images (evidence produced by actors/participants) 

2. Think about who is creating these sources and they are going to be available 

  • are these secondary sources that are published in journals / books? 
  • are these published primary sources (e.g. newspapers, datasets)? 
  • are these unpublished sources (only available in archives or in private repositories) 

3. Match resources to search engines. A good research strategy includes a mix of search tools. Start on the library's A-Z list of Databases

  • multidisciplinary search engines (e.g. library search engine, Google Scholar)  
  • thematic search engines (e.g. for sociology or for history) 
  • search engines for material types (e.g. data, news, images) 

4. Consult with a Research Librarian for guidance 


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Christine Ménard
Meet your librarian:
Sawyer Library
Research Services, Room 347D
Pronouns: she/her/hers