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 me. You may prefer to directly schedule a virtual appointment with me on Zoom, and other platforms.

The research process

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

Search tips

  1. Begin by defining exactly what you are searching for
  1. Be specific when determining keywords: synonyms/antonyms and terms to search
  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.

Sources​ of information

Publication Cycle: to find primary and secondary sources of information, use tertiary sources of information: dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks. When a researcher publishes material, they follow the cycle clockwise. To find primary and secondary sources, follow the cycle anti clockwise.

Library search

OMNI: the Carleton University Library search interface. 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. Sociology has largely been divided into the following subjects or research areas. This is a searchable index. Click on a link below to discover the Library's holdings 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. Anthropology
  2. Arts
  3. Behavioral sciences
  4. Communication
  5. Culture
  6. Economics
  7. Education
  8. Equality
  9. Families
  10. Feminist theory
  11. Government
  12. History
  13. Human population
  14. Human societies
  15. Law
  16. Persons
  17. Political science
  18. Political sociology
  19. Politics
  20. Population
  21. Population studies
  22. Power social sciences
  23. Psychology
  24. Psychotherapy
  25. Religion
  26. Social change
  27. Social institutions
  28. Social interaction
  29. Social problems
  30. Social psychology
  31. Social sciences
  32. Sociolinguistics
  33. Sociology
  34. Video/film
  • Databases tagged 'Sociology'

  • Databases by 'Type'

  • Online journals by 'Subject'

  • Other suggested databases:

  1. Academic OneFile: A multidisciplinary database providing access to journals on a wide range of topics.
  2. Annual Reviews: Provides access to review articles in the Biomedical, Life, Physical, and Social Sciences.
  3. CPI.Q: Contains citations to Canadian English and French language journals.
  4. Ebsco databases: Provides access to all databases available through the EBSCOhost interface. You may select multiple databases and search them simultaneously.
  5. ERIC: A database of articles dealing with topics related to education.
  6. Gale Virtual Reference Library: A database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.
  7. Google Scholar: Google Scholar provides access to scholarly literature from many disciplines and sources. Indexes peer reviewed articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other websites.
  8. HathiTrust Digital Library: HathiTrust is a digital repository of millions of books, serials, and other materials from research institutions and libraries from around the world. HathiTrust offers libraries a means to archive and provide access to their digital content and offers expanded opportunities for innovative use in research, teaching and learning. Covers most subject areas and new material is added regularly.
  9. ICPSR : Inter-University Consortium for Political & Social Research​: Archives of social science data for research and instruction
  10. JSTOR: Digital library of academic journals, books and primary sources.  
  11. Oxford Bibliographies Online: Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO) is a tool for the social sciences and humanities. It is composed of discipline-based subject modules that provide annotated bibliographies on specific topics.
  12. Oxford Reference Online: Contains reference materials publshed by Oxford University Press.
  13. 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.
  14. PubMed: Provides access to citations covering all areas of medicine and associated fields.
  15. Qualitative Data Repository​: The Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) is a dedicated archive for storing and sharing digital data (and accompanying documentation) generated or collected through qualitative and multi-method research in the social sciences. 
  16. SAGE Knowledge Encyclopedias: 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. 
  17. 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
  1. Scopus: A multidisciplinary abstract and citation database of research literature and web sources.
  2. WorldCat: A union catalogue of libraries worldwide.


  • Research -- Recommended

  1. The SAGE handbook of fieldwork Hobbs, Dick.; Wright, Richard, 1951- 2006 [electronic resource]
  2. The SAGE handbook of online research methods Fielding, Nigel, editor.; Lee, Raymond M., 1946- editor.; Blank, Grant, editor. 2017 [electronic resource]
  3. The SAGE handbook of social gerontology Dannefer, Dale.; Phillipson, Chris. 2010
  4. The SAGE handbook of social research methods Alasuutari, Pertti.; Bickman, Leonard, 1941-; Brannen, Julia. 2008 [electronic resource]
  5. The SAGE handbook of visual research methods Pauwels, Luc, Professor, editor.; Mannay, Dawn, editor. 2020 [electronic resource]​
  • 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. Sage deaf studies encyclopedia Sage eReference (Online service); Sage knowledge. 2015 [electronic resource]
  4. The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods Given, Lisa M. 2008 [electronic resource]
  5. The Sage encyclopedia of social science research methods Lewis-Beck, Michael S.; Bryman, Alan.; Liao, Tim Futing. c2004 [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

Minecraft (Education Edition) is free for Carleton students

Just download the installer from the link below (for Windows 10):

After install, launch the game and log in using your Carleton email address (cmail) and password then you're good to go. 

Content last reviewed: January 29, 2021