Background reference resources dictionaries and encyclopedias can provide you with the main concepts in a discipline:the right keywords and phrases to use when searching the databases and the catalogue.  They give you just enough information to understand whether the search results from meet your needs.  Start with these general resources:

You can find more in the catalogue by following these and other subject headings:

Bibliographies and Guides to the Literature

Biographical Dictionaries

Try the subject heading:

Book Reviews

Many Sociology journals publish book reviews.  Search for book reviews in Sociological Abstracts by selecting the publication type book reviews; and in Social Sciences Full Text by selecting the document type book review.

Current Research

These journals provide an overview of research trends.

New research ideas may be found in dissertations and theses before they appear in journal articles and books:



Indexes and Abstracts

See the Journals and journal article databases for relevant databases of citations and abstracts.

Book series

Book series bring together books that focus on aspects of a particular area of research.  Click on the links to see relevant titles.


Finding journals

If you know the name of a journal, look it up by its title in the catalogue. If you don't know journal names, you can search for journals in the catalogue. Try the subject headings

or try a keyword search for your topic, specifying the Journal Title scope to the right of the data entry area.

Journal article databases

Key Sociology databases:

Related databases:

For Canadian social issues, try:

For Latin American social issues, try:

For African issues, try:

For Asian issues, try

Try the multidisciplinary databases.  Also note the related Sociology subject guides.


Please consult the Images "find guide" for suggestions as to where to search for images.


Primary source databases

Consult this list of databases containing archives for materials relevant to your topic.  In particular:

Tip:  News items can be considered primary if they are replicas of the original articles and if they document an event while it is occurring.  Full image databases:

Tip:  Government documents are also considered to be primary.

Government documents

Government documents provide analyses concerning social issues, particularly where they intersect with initiativies or law.  Government statutes are considered to be primary source documents.  For help in locating government information, consult the goverment information "find" page for the Google custom search of selected government web sites, and consult the government information specialists.

Example documents:

Government information guides

For relevant subject guides, consult the government policy issues page, particularly under the heading Social.

Government information databases

Start with these:

Consult the full list of goverment information databases.  Also try the Google custom search on the goverment information "find" guide.

Data and statistics

For an overview of statistical vocabulary, please see:

Here is a selection of available documents:

Try a search of the Google custom search on the government information "find" guide.   Also try a search of the catalogue using a fielded keyword search of s:statistics (searching for "statistics" in the subject heading index) as one of the search terms.

Try searching in the following databases of statistics and data:

Consult the data specialists for help with using databases such as <odesi>.


Try subject headings searches in the catalogue, adding -- Maps to your topic; for instance,

Here are some examples of how maps can provide a different way of viewing social issues:

Consult the maps specialists for additional help and resources.

Carleton dissertations and theses

All Carleton theses and dissertations are catalogued.  Since the department of Sociology and Anthropology is included as an author of the work, the most efficient way to search the catalogue is to look for the keyword “sociology” in the author index, combined with the keyword “thesis”:

Carleton theses and dissertations are deposited in CURVE, the institutional repository.  The interface is better for browsing than for searching.  Carleton theses and dissertations (up to 2013) can also be searched in Dissertations & Theses @Carleton University, or the larger Dissertations & Theses Global.

The following titles were selected to show the range of topics that are researched at Carleton:

Dissertations and theses worldwide

Consult our theses and dissertations guide for relevant databases.

Theses and dissertations not available online can be requested by Interlibrary Loan (RACER); however, there may be a cost involved in obtaining it.  If you know the title that you would like to access, try searching the library catalogue at the institution where the thesis or dissertation was produced.  A freely-available copy may have been deposited into the institution’s repository.


Here is a selection of resources from our collection:

For more information about finding sources of music, consult the Music subject guide.


The following is a selection of films from our collection:

Films in our collection that are not streaming videos can be booked for a 3-day period.

Databases of films

Try these first:

Also consult the list for our other databases of films.

Requesting the purchase of films

Purchase requests for films can be made by completing a purchase suggestion form.  As many films are still quite expensive, we may not be able to honour such requests.  Films can also be requested via the Interfilm service for viewing on specific days.  Please see the Videos "find" guide for more details.

Film viewing and copyright

Many videos are posted on sites such as YouTube without having obtained copyright permissions.  Please exercise caution in showing such films in class.  If in doubt, review our copyright guide and/or contact the Copyright specialists.

Other sources

Looking for film suggestions? Browse the list on the Sociology Through Documentary Film wiki (the link may be slow to open, but it is worth the wait!

  1. Check out our guides:
  2. Consult Writing Services (4th floor, Library).
  3. Find out about skill development workshops pertaining to writing that are offered by the Centre for Student Academic Support.
  4. Learn how to use citation management software.

Helpful documentation from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Suggested books related to writing in Sociology