Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

This subject guide will assist you in finding books, journal articles, and websites, as well as assist you in developing your research skills.

Step #1: Get background information from handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries.


  • Begin by defining exactly what you are searching for
  • Select the keywords/synonyms in your topic
  • Be specific when determining keywords/synonyms and terms to search
  • 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
  • Use Boolean Operators to connect search terms 
  • Take notes during your research to keep track of where you have been, keywords searched, what worked and what didn't, etc.
  • Google search secrets [electronic resource] / Christa Burns and Michael P. Sauers.

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.

Reference Materials

Step #2: Once your topic is narrowly defined, select databases to find specific articles that have been published in journals.

Key databases:

For Canadian social issues:

Journal rankings

  • Directory of Open Access Journals: An index to high quality, peer reviewed open access research journals, periodicals and their articles' metadata.  Each journal must exercise peer-review with an editor and an editorial board or editorial review (particularly in the Humanities) carried out by at least two editors and/or report primary results of research or overviews of research results to a scholarly community
  • Google Scholar Metrics: Gender Studies
  • Google Scholar Metrics: Sex & Sexuality
  • Journal Citation Reports (JCR) from Web of Science: Provides access to citation data in order to aid the evaluation and comparison of scholarly journals
  • Scimago Journal & Country rank - Gender Studies
  • Ulrichsweb: is a source of bibliographic and access information for over 300,000 serials

Selected Journals

Step #3: non-literary forms of representation in sociology

Maps and images


For more go to our listing of images databases

Also consult our images "find" guide.​

Step #4: Find books on your topic to gain greater depth and understanding.

Books and Serials in Sociology are shelved at these locations in the Library of Congress system: HM1-1281 

We welcome your suggestions for books or other library materials you need for your study or research at Carleton.

Google Books >Sociology​

Suggested Subject Headings

Research methods:

Research ethics:


Step #5: Write down or store all the references you have consulted to include them in your bibliography of your research paper (e.g., Mendeley)

Find out about learning support sessions on writing that are offered by the Centre for Student Academic Support.

Selected resources to get started:


Citation searching is a technique to find scholarly clusters for a research topic.  Take the citation for a key book or journal article and try to see who might have used that citation in their bibliography.

  • Web of Science: A searchable, multidisciplinary suite of databases.
    • Topic alerts - set up alerts in any category or sub-specialty and receive regular updates of the latest research.
    • Citation Alerting -keep track of particular citations, to see if anyone is citing it in recent journals.
    • You can set up a citation alert whenever you’re reading a full-text article by clicking on "Save as Citation Alert."
  • How to do a Cited Reference Search tutorial [VIDEO 4 min 16 seconds]
  • Google Scholar: Indexes peer reviewed articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other websites.
    • For Cited Reference Search.  Look at the link "cited by". Search for your "key" article.  Check the link "cited by" right beneath the reference to that article
    • "Citation alerts" to avoid an overload of irrelevant stuff, set up an alert on the page where you list out "cited references"; captures a "wider" range of journals and also includes "book chapters" etc.

Current awareness

  • sshrc- list: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
  • WatchThatPage: is a service that enables you to automatically collect new information from your favorite pages on the Internet



  • BrowZine: brings scholarly, academic journal content together from multiple publishers and platforms into a single place, where you can save your favorite journals, view the tables of contents, and read or save articles, as new issues are released
  • Citation Management software: Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote...
  • Learn how to use citation management software.
  • Data & statistics information: locating statistical resources and information
  • GIS (Geographic Information Systems): includes geospatial data and maps
  • NVivo: a software package that helps with qualitative data analysis
  • Scholarly publishing and open access: "Scholarly communication is the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use" - from Association of College & Research Libraries.

Grey Literature: defined as "information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing" ie. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." — ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997. Expanded in New York, 2004

  • Canadian Electronic Library from desLibris: Contains the full text of public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups
  • Canadian Research Index: to find Canadian government publications
  • IGO Search: IGO Search is a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) that searches across IGO websites. It is a project of the International Documents Taskforce (IDTF) of the American Library Association (ALA)

Literature reviews and current awareness

Services for Graduate Students

Content last updated: July 27, 2020