This guide is meant for self service. If at any time during the research process, should you feel the need for research support, then email us. We will arrange a convenient time to get together on Zoom, and other platforms.

The research process

  1. Get background information from handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries
  2. Once your topic is narrowly defined, select databases to find specific articles that have been published in journals
  3. Films and images as non-literary forms of representation 
  4. Find books on your topic to gain greater depth and understanding
  5. Write down or store all the references you have consulted to include them in the bibliography of your research paper, for example Mendeley

Search tips

  1. Begin by defining exactly what you are searching for
  1. Use the advanced interface of electronic databases and Internet search engines to help narrow your search
  • Limit results in electronic databases to full-text or peer reviewed journals only
  1. Use Boolean Operators to connect search terms by understanding how search engines operate
  1. Take notes during your research to keep track of where you have been, keywords searched, what worked and what didn't, etc.

Library search

OMNI: the Carleton University Library search portal. Please see Help With Using Omni

Subject headings 

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) use controlled vocabulary to access and express the subject content of documents. Porn Studies has largely been divided into the following subjects or research areas. This is a searchable index. Click on the links below to discover the Library's holding in this area:

  • Add keywords
  • Use the filters on the left of the resulting screen
  • Typical filters are Available Online and Peer Reviewed Journals
  1. Analysis
  2. Censorship
  3. Child pornography
  4. Children & youth
  5. Criminal investigations
  6. Erotica
  7. Feminism
  8. Freedom of speech
  9. Gay pornography
  10. Humans
  11. Internet
  12. Internet pornography
  13. Laws, regulations, and rules
  14. Pornography
  15. Pornography & obscenity
  16. Psychology
  17. Sex crimes
  18. Sexual behavior
  19. Sexuality
  20. Social aspects
  21. Social sciences
  22. Video/film
  23. Women
  1. ProQuest Databases: ProQuest provides access to a number of databases that cover most subject areas. Search all of them at once or one of the subject clusters. Includes major databases such as PsycInfo, Sociological Abstracts, Philosoher’s Index, and many more.
  2. SAGE Knowledge Encyclopedias: Carleton subscribes to the 2011 Encyclopedia Collection which provides perpetual access to 27 encyclopedias in the social sciences published between 2005-2011, as well as some other encyclopedias which have been ordered individually. Browse by Content Type: "Encyclopedias" and/or "Handbooks".
  3. SAGE Research Methods: With information on the full range of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods for the social and behavioral sciences, as well as methods commonly used in the hard sciences, the book, reference, and journal content in SAGE Research Methods helps researchers of all levels conduct their research.
  • Cases: Cases are peer-reviewed and come with pedagogical tools including learning objectives and discussions questions
  • Datasets: Datasets is a collection of teaching datasets and instructional guides that give students a chance to learn data analysis by practicing themselves
  • Video: Video contains more than 125 hours of video, including tutorials, case study videos, expert interviews, and more, covering the entire research methods and statistics curriculum

Select journals: 

  1. International Journal of Cyber Criminology [electronic resource].
  2. Journal of the history of sexuality [electronic resource]. Peer Reviewed
  3. Porn Studies Peer Review
  4. Sexuality research & social policy [electronic resource]. Peer Review
  5. Studies in gender and sexuality [electronic resource]. Peer Reviewed


  • Research -- Recommended
  1. The SAGE handbook of online research methods Fielding, Nigel, editor.; Lee, Raymond M., 1946- editor.; Blank, Grant, editor. 2017 [electronic resource]
  2. The SAGE handbook of social research methods Alasuutari, Pertti.; Bickman, Leonard, 1941-; Brannen, Julia. 2008 [electronic resource]
  3. The SAGE handbook of visual research methods Pauwels, Luc, Professor, editor.; Mannay, Dawn, editor. 2020 [electronic resource]‚Äč
  • Basic -- Recommended
  1. The Sage dictionary of cultural studies Barker, Chris, 1955- 2004
  2. The Sage dictionary of sociology Bruce, Steve, 1954-; Yearley, Steven.; ProQuest (Firm) 2006 [electronic resource]
  3. The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods Given, Lisa M. 2008 [electronic resource]
  4. The Sage encyclopedia of social science research methods Bosch, Karen A ; Bryman, Alan ; Liao, Tim F. c2014 [electronic resource]


  1. The SAGE handbook of applied social research methods Bickman, Leonard, 1941- editor.; Rog, Debra J., editor.; Best, Samuel J., contributor. 2009 [electronic resource]
  2. How to Read a Book, v5.0 School of Information University of Michigan
  3. How to Read a Paragraph: The Art of Close Reading
  4. How to Read (and Understand) a Social Science Journal Article: Tips and tricks to make reading and understanding social science journal articles easier
  5. How to Read for Grad School Miriam E. Sweeney
Content last reviewed: January 7, 2021