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Introduction to Sociology - Oakland Campus: Getting Started

This guide is intended to prepare students in SOC 0010 to find resources in sociology.

What is Scholarly Information?

Instructors often ask students to find “scholarly”, “academic”, or “peer reviewed” sources of information for their research.  These terms all refer to the same type of information – sources based on in-depth research, and are considered higher in quality and more reliable for your research. These sources can range from chapters within books or entire books, or journal articles, but all have common characteristics that can help you recognize that type of information.

Scholarly

  • Written for professors, students or researchers.
  • Have a plain appearance and titles may include words like "Journal," "Transactions," or "Quarterly”.
  • Articles are reviewed by a board of experts or "peer reviewed."
  • Follow a standard format: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, conclusion, possibly footnotes, endnotes and/or bibliography.
  • May include tables, graphs or illustrations to support research.
  • Very little advertising.

General Purpose (Popular)

  • May have a bright cover with many glossy pictures.
  • Designed to attract a broad segment of the population.
  • No specific format.
  • Articles sometimes unsigned.
  • General editors of the magazine review articles.
  • May include tables, graphs or illustrations.
  • Lots of advertising.

Trade/Professional publications

  • May have a bright cover.
  • Provide information of use to a particular industry.
  • No specific format.
  • Articles sometimes unsigned.
  • General editors of the magazine review articles.
  • Advertising is used to appeal to those in the field.

Sociology Research

Sociology is the scientific study of human social behavior. As the study of humans in their collective aspect, sociology is concerned with all group activities—economic, social, political, and religious.

Sociologists study such areas as bureaucracy, community, deviant behavior, family, public opinion, social change, social mobility, social stratification, and such specific problems as crime, divorce, child abuse, and substance addiction. Sociology tries to determine the laws governing human behavior in social contexts; it is sometimes distinguished as a general social science from the special social sciences, such as economics and political science, which confine themselves to a selected group of social facts or relations.

-- In The Columbia Encyclopedia, Columbia University Press, 2008. Retrieved from Credo Reference.

What Do You Need To Do?

Think of a Topic?

  • Consult your textbook, your assignment guidelines, or your professor for appropriate topics
  • Librarians can help you focus once you have an approved direction

Find an Article?

  • Use the tab above: Finding Articles
  • Librarians can help you determine which databases are best for your topic

Find a Book?

  • Use the tab above: Finding Books
  • Librarians can help you use PITTCat+

Find a Statistic?

  • Use the tab above: Statistics
  • Librarians can help you find statistics if you have trouble

Cite Your Sources?

  • Use the tab above: Citing in ASA
  • Librarians can help you cite correctly

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Liaison Librarian

Aimee Sgourakis
Contact:
207C Hillman Library, Second Floor

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