James H. Thomason Library

Sociology 423

Research Methods

Background Information


Locating Books
Locating Articles
  Article Databases
  Key Journals
  Journal Finder
Locating Statistical Resources
  Print Sources
  Online Sources
Web Sites
  General Sites
  Professional Associations
Get Help

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Background Information:    
Dictionaries   back to top

The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology [CREDO Reference], Blackwell, 2000.

The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Main Level, Reference: R 301.03 C144C

Dictionary of Demography, Blackwell Publishers, 1988.
Main Level, Reference: R 304.60321 P926D

Dictionary of Sociology [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2009.

Dictionary of the Social Sciences [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2002.

A Dictionary of Statistics [Oxford Reference Online], Oxford University Press, 2008.
A broad range of statistical vocabulary in jargon-free language. Includes terms used in computing, mathematics, operational research, and probability, as well as biographical information on over 200 key figures in the field.

A Dictionary of Statistics and Methodology: A Nontechnical Guide for the Social Sciences,SAGE Publications, 1993.
Main Level, Reference: R 300.15195 V868D

The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Sociology, Dushkin, 1991.
Main Level, Reference: R 301.03 En195E

Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences [Athabasca University]

Encyclopedias   back to top

Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology [Blackwell Reference Online], Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
Definitions and explanations of key concepts written by leading scholars in the field of sociology with sophisticated cross-referencing and searching.

Encyclopedia of American Social History, Scribner, c1993.
Main Level, Reference: R 301.0973 En19E

Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods [SAGE eReference], SAGE Publications, 2004.
Entries covering quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as the connections between them with definitions and topical essays discussing the nature, history, application/example and implication of using a certain method. Also included are suggested readings, cross-references, and references for future study.

Encyclopedia of Sociology, Macmillan Reference USA, c2000.
Main Level, Reference: R 301.03 En19E2 [5 vols]

Encyclopedia of Evaluation  [SAGE eReference], SAGE Publications, 2005.
Covers professional practice as well as academia, this volume chronicles the development of the field of evaluation from its history, key figures, theories, approaches, to goals.

Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics [SAGE eReference], SAGE Publications, 2006.
Comprehensive overview and explanation of important topics in measurement and statistics presented in a focused and accessible manner.

Encyclopedia of Population [Gale Virtual Reference Library], Macmillan, 2003.
Also available Main Level, Reference: R 304.603 En19E [2 vols]
Designed to encompass the large-scale changes in emphasis and research directions in population studies during the last 20 years, topics covered include: rapid demographic expansion in poor countries; low fertility rates and problems of old-age support; the environmental impact of a dense population; the press for expanded reproductive rights; and much more.


Handbooks   back to top

ASA Style Guide, American Sociological Association, 2007.
Main Level, Ready Reference: RR 808.0663 Am35A 

Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences. [CREDO Reference] 6th ed., Elsevier Pub., 2006.

OWL [Purdue University Writing Center]

Sociology Referencing Guidelines [Dr. Robert H. Freymeyer, Presbyterian College Writing Center]

The Sage Handbook of Quantitative Methodology for the Social Sciences, Sage Publications, 2004.
Upper Level: 001.42 Sa18S

Locating Books   back to top


Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              

Durkheim, Emile [as AUTHOR]

  Weber, Max [as SUBJECT]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to sociological methodology:
  Population Statistics


  Social Surveys


  • Materials relevant to the study of methodology may also be found by specifying the era or dates, geographic area, or the material type in which you are interested:
  Demographic Surveys--United States--Statistics    
  Social Sciences--Research--Encyclopedias    
  Social Sciences--Statistical Methods  

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD search if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
educational attainment AND religiosity

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
(aged OR elderly) AND social conditions

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate or expand
a term:
recidivis*= recidivist, recidivists, recidivism

method**= method, methods, methodology, methodologies, methodological

Try KEYWORD searching with ThomCat, other library catalogs & library databases

PASCAL Catalog - If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.

WorldCat – A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in the PASCAL Catalog.

Interlibrary Loan - ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Click link for instructions.

Locating Articles:    
Article Databases back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  Search using terms dealing with your topic.

 Sociological Abstracts Journals (in Academic Search Complete) [EBSCOhost]

A world leader in providing country specific geopolitical intelligence on each of the countries of the world with demographic, political, economic, business, cultural and environmental information in the form of Country ReviewsTM, daily news coverage from several regional news services for every country, CountryWatch Data, the CountryWatch Map Gallery, the weekly Political Intelligence Briefing and the associated Intelligence Wire.

Archival database of full-text articles from scholarly journals including behavioral science titles, as well as other disciplines.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection
Full-text articles from scholarly journals. Provides coverage of journals in the behavioral sciences as well as other disciplines.

Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection [EBSCOhost]
Covers topics such as emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry, psychology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational and experimental methods.

PsycINFO [EBSCOhost]
Citations and abstracts of resources for research in psychology and related disciplines. Includes social psychology titles.

Full-text articles, primarily from the American Psychological Association’s journals.  Includes some social psychology titles.

Key Journals   back to top

American Journal of Sociology
Presents work on the theory, methods, practice, and history of sociology. Also publishes articles on the application of perspectives from other social sciences: psychology, anthropology, statistics, economics, education, history, and political science.

American Sociological Review
The flagship journal of the American Sociological Association publishes works of interest to the discipline in general, new theoretical developments, results of research that advance understanding of fundamental social processes, and important methodological innovations. All areas of sociology are represented.

Annual Review of Sociology     
Each volume of this series contains articles in essay form which trace the progress of research inthat field during a given year.    

International Journal of Public Opinion Research
A source of informed analysis and comment for professionals and academics, this refereed journal is a comparative, multidisciplinary forum serving the international community, including original articles, review articles, surveys of recent developments in the field, book reviews and notes section, and journal abstracts, from the World Association for Public Opinion.

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Spanning religion, sociology, political science, and psychology, this quarterly publication of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion offers research on national and international issues.

Journal of Marriage and the Family
Features original research and theory, research interpretation and reviews, and critical discussion concerning all aspects of marriage, other forms of close relationships, and families.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Papers on the nature and dynamics of interactions and social relationships, including interpersonal attraction, communication, emotion, and relationship development, and on group and organizational processes such as social influence, group decision making and task performance, intergroup relations, and aggression, pro-social behavior and other types of social behavior.

The Journal of Social Psychology
Articles on experimental, empirical and field studies of groups, cultural effects, cross-national problems, language and ethnicity, cross-cultural notes and briefly reported replications and refinements.

Population and Development Review
Population and Development Review is essential reading to keep abreast of population studies, research on the interrelationships between population and socioeconomic change, and related thinking on public policy. Its interests span both developed and developing countries, theoretical advances as well as empirical analyses and case studies, a broad range of disciplinary approaches, and concern with historical as well as present-day problems.

Public Opinion Quarterly 
Publishes important theoretical contributions to opinion and communication research, analyses of current public opinion, and investigations of methodological issues involved in survey validity, including questionnaire construction, interviewing and interviewers, sampling strategy, and mode of administration.

Rural Sociology

A forum for cutting edge research exploring inter-disciplinary approaches to emerging issues, new approaches to older questions and material, and policy relevant discussions of rural development, environmental impacts, the structure of food and agricultural production, rural-urban linkages, community revitalization, and rural demographic changes.

Sex Roles: A Journal of Research    
Original research articles and theoretical papers concerned with gender role socialization, perceptions, and attitudes while presenting recent developments in developmental, cognitive, and social-personality factors in childhood; acquisition, maintenance, and impact of stereotypes; social contexts; personal and interpersonal relationships; sexual preference; and research methodological issues.

Social Forces
A journal of social research highlighting sociological inquiry but also exploring realms shared with social psychology, anthropology, political science, history, and economics. The journal's intended academic readers include sociologists, social psychologists, criminologists, economists, political scientists, anthropologists, and students of urban studies, race/ethnic relations, and religious studies

Social Policy
Includes articles on topics such as labor unions, women's issues, social welfare, urban planning, economic policy, education & the media, gay & lesbian issues, and management.

Social Problems
Published by the Society for the Study of Social Problems to promote research on, and serious examination of, problems of social life.

Social Psychology Quarterly
Publishes theoretical and empirical papers on the link between the individual and society, including the study of the relations of individuals to one another, as well as to groups and institutions. It also includes the study of intra-individual processes insofar as they substantially influence or are influenced by social structure and process.

Social Research 
Articles and review articles in all areas of social research, and occasional issues on a common theme, published by the New School for Social Research.

Social Science Quarterly
Publishes current research on a broad range of topics including political science, sociology, economics, history, social work, geography, international studies, and women's studies.

Attempts to further the understanding and use of social sciences through significant research, informative commentaries and analyses of controversial problems in American society.

Sociological Forum 
Sociological Forum is the flagship journal of the Eastern Sociological Society. The journal is peer reviewed and committed to publishing high quality, cutting edge research on substantive issues of fundamental importance to the study of society. The journal's mission is broad in scope, encompassing empirical works (both quantitative and qualitative in nature), as well as works that develop theories, concepts, and methodological strategies. All areas of sociology and related fields are welcomed in Sociological Forum, as the journal strives to create a site of learning and exchange for scholars and students of the social sciences.

Sociological Inquiry
Sociological Inquiry (SI) is committed to the exploration of the human condition in all of its social and cultural complexity.Itspapers challenge us to look anew at traditional areas or identify novel areas for investigation.SI publishes boththeoretical and empirical work as are the varied research methods in the study of social and cultural life.

Sociological Methods & Research   
Each quarterly issue brings you empirically based articles from a variety of perspectives, exploring research methods that are applicable to a wide range of fields, including: anthropology, criminology, demography, economics, education, management, political science, psychology, sociology. 

Sociological Quarterly 
Covers a wide range of topics in the field of sociology, including new theoretical developments, results of research that advance fundamental understanding of social processes, and methodological innovation. Published by the Midwest Sociological Society.

Sociological Spectrum  
A refereed interdisciplinary social science journal that publishes theoretical, methodological, quantitative, qualitative substantive research in the areas of sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and political science. Published by the Mid-South Sociological Association.

Sociology  (A journal of the British Sociological Association)
The oldest sociological journal in Great Britain, publishing theoretical research and empirical studies in the fields of sociology, social anthropology, cultural studies, and social policy.

Sociology and Social Research   
Library has print volumes for 1964-1992 only (title ceased publication in 1992).

Sociology of Education 
Research examining all stages and all types of education at the individual, institutional, and organizational levels.

Journal Finder   back to top

Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals, magazines, and newspapers in one convenient location.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject. When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the group of database results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.

Locating Statistical Resources   back to top
Print Sources    

County & City Data Book, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 13th ed., 2007.
Main Level, Reference: R 317.3 Un3C2 2007.  Provides demographic data on population, personal income/earnings, crime, housing, educational attainment, poverty, etc. at the county level and city level (pop.25,000 or above).
Also available online at County & City Data Book. Choose the online publication or previous edition.

Statistical Abstract of the United States, GPO, 1997-current issue.
Main Level, Ready Reference: R 317.3 Un3
Published by the U.S. Census Bureau, provides a summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.
Also available online at Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Browse sections of the Abstract on the left or use search box on the right.


Online Sources   back to top

American FactFinder [U.S. Census Bureau]
Site provides information on demographics, census data, data sets, and other facts about America's population.

American National Election Studies (ANES) [Stanford, Univ. of Michigan, National Science Foundation]
The mission of ANES is to produce high quality data on voting, public opinion, and political participation that serve the research needs of social scientists, teachers, students, and policy makers concerned with the theoretical and empirical foundations of mass politics in a democratic society.

ARDA (Association for Religion Data Archives)  [Social Science Research Institute, Penn State University]
The ARDA Data Archive is a collection of surveys, polls, & other data submitted by researchers and made available online by the ARDA. There are nearly 400 data files included in the ARDA collection. You can browse files by category, alphabetically, view by newest, most popular categories, or search for a file. Once you select a file you can preview the results, read about how the data were collected, review the survey questions asked, save selected survey questions to your own file, and/or download the data file

Bureau of Justice Statistics  [U.S. Department of Justice]
Categories include Crime & Victims, Law Enforcement, Criminal Offenders, Courts and Sentencing, Corrections, and Special Topics.

The Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science [University of California, Santa Barbara]
The CSISS mission recognizes the growing significance of space, spatiality, location, and place in social science research. It seeks to develop unrestricted access to tools and perspectives that will advance the spatial analytic capabilities of researchers throughout the social science.

DataFerrett [DataWeb Partnership at the U.S. Census Bureau]

DataFerrett helps you locate and retrieve the data you need across the Internet to your desktop or system, regardless of where the data resides. You can create a chart or graph for a visual presentation into an html page. It can be installed as an application on your desktop or use a java applet with an internet browser.

FedStats [U.S. Government]  
Statistics at state, county, and national levels from over 100 federal agencies.

New! Gapminder: Unveiling the Beauty of Statistics for a Fact Based World View [Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Hans Rosling]

Dramatic visual presentation of data and statistical time series. Founded in 2005, Gapminder is registered as a Swedish foundation. The Web site allows comparison of countries by displaying charts and maps on the fly for some 500 indicators (relating to health, income, education, energy, the environment, technology, and more). This free resource draws data from traditional sources, such as the United Nations, World Bank, and OECD. Use the Gapminder 2.5-minute tutorial and Gapminder becomes easy to navigate: drop-down menus are available for each chart axis, grid symbols take users to data tables, and "trails" allow tracking of an individual country's progress.  Charts are color-coded by region to make comparison easier, and users may select multiple countries for comparison. CHOICE Reviews Online 2/2011

General Social Survey (GSS) [National Science Foundation]
The GSS is the largest project funded by the Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation. Except for the U.S.Census, the GSS is the most frequently analyzed source of information in the social sciences.

ICPSR [University of Michigan]
The world's largest archive of digital social science data. The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research member institutions work to acquire and preserve social science data, provide open-access to these data, and promote effective data use.

Institute for Research in Social Science Public Opinion Questionaire Database [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill]
A variety of national and statewide public opinion poll data which is available through their Data Holdings Catalog. Included is the exclusive national depository for all survey data collected since 1965 by Louis Harris and Associates, Inc. The Harris Polls, together with the seven additional public opinion surveys that make up the collection, are all organized into IRSS's Public Opinion Questionaire Database which allows any researcher connected to the Internet to view questions and frequency distributions of state and national polls, as well as to perform a complete keyword search of the entire Index.

International Data Base [U.S. Census Bureau]
The IDB is a searchable data bank containing statistical tables of demographic data for countries of the world.

Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data [Data and Information Services Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison]
DISC collection includes major surveys from a variety of distributors, U.S. government data, and locally produced archival datasets. The collection is cross-disciplinary, reflecting research interests in the social sciences. Longitudinal surveys, macroeconomic indicators, election studies, population studies, socialization patterns, poverty measures, labor force participation, public opinion polls, education and health data, and local/national/international governmental statistics are among the subjects represented.

Intute: Social Sciences – Research Methods [Resource Discovery Network]
Created by a network of UK universities and partners, web resources are organized in categories that reflect current research interests in British sociology. Subject specialists select and evaluate the websites in this database and write high quality descriptions of the resources.

National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS) [Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor] Detailed information about the labor market experiences and other aspects of the lives of six groups of men and women. Over the years, a variety of other government agencies, such as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National School to Work Office, have funded components of the surveys that provided data relevant to their missions.

National Center for Educational Statistics [U.S. Department of Education]
A series of related educational data sets including elementary, secondary, postsecondary, longitudinal studies, library surveys, educational assessments, international comparisons, and program areas.

POPLINE [K4Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication]
he world's largest database on reproductive health, containing citations with abstracts to scientific articles, reports, books, and unpublished reports in the field of population, family planning, and related health issues. POPLINE contains nearly 360,000 records and has been maintained since 1973 by the INFO Project (formerly Population Information Program). The majority of items are published from 1970 to the present, however, there are selected citations dating back to 1827. Includes the POPLINE Thesaurus, a controlled vocabulary of 2,400+ terms used to index documents in the database. POPLINE's special features include links to free, fulltext documents; the ability to limit your search to peer-reviewed journal articles.

PRB Datafinder [Population Reference Bureau]
PRB’s DataFinder allows users to search for population and data, selecting from a number of variables including education, employment, environmental conditions, etc.

New! Research Randomizer [Geoffrey C. Urbaniak and Scott Plous]
An online random number generator for use in math, statistics and research design. Customizable features let you determine how many numbers to generate, the range of values, whether or not to allow duplicate numbers, etc.

Social Science Data Laboratory [University of Colorado-Boulder]
Extensive list of available datasets and methods resources online.

Social Statistics Briefing Room  [U.S. Government Agencies]
Federal statistics covering four major categories: Crime, Demography, Education, Health.

Sociological Research Links [Larry Ridener, Dept. of Sociology, Pfeiffer University]

The Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics Online [U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics]
Brings together data from more than 200 sources about many aspects of criminal justice in the United States. These data are displayed in over 600 tables. Currently this site presents Sourcebook 2003, the 31st edition. Check the What's New? page where new tables are added or existing tables updated with the latest data.

South Carolina Statistical Abstract [South Carolina Budget and Control Board, Office of Research and Statistics]  
This state publication is a comprehensive reference source for demographic and economic data pertinent to South Carolina.

Statistical Abstract of the United States [U.S. Census Bureau]
A summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.
Also available Main Level, Ready Reference: R 317.3 Un3

Uniform Crime Reports  [Federal Bureau of Investigation]
Includes: Crime in the United States, Hate Crime Statistics, and Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted. 

New Addition!  World Bank Open Data [World Bank]

"Web access to the bank's vast collection of economic, social, population, and development data with no restrictions and at no cost. Tabs and links provide access to the data by country, topic, and indicator, and to the data catalog. Users can select a country from a list of more than 200 entries and view/download a statistical profile containing several years of data for selected indicators. Site is available in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish." description from CHOICE Reviews Online 9/2010

Web Sites   back to top
General Sites    

Dead Sociologists’ Index  [Larry R. Ridener, Radford Univ.]
Includes excerpts from the works of sixteen major sociologists, along with biographical information.

*Essential Web Based Resources in Sociology [Kevan Edwards]
These links provide you with avenues to sources of information that may prove very useful to sociologists and others interested in social issues or sociological activities.
Includes additional data resources recommended by Indiana University's Sociology Department.

SPSS Starter Kit   [UCLA Academic Technology Services]
A site with resources designed to develop the skills needed to conduct common analyses in SPSS.



New site! ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research

An impressive gateway to more than 500,000 downloadable digital files of statistical data related to the social sciences. Linear and graphic links on the main page lead to sections for locating and analyzing data; obtaining instructions on archiving data with ICPSR; viewing information on collaborative efforts with other groups; and accessing teaching resources. Allows for keyword searching by full text, title, author or investigator, and summaries. Users may browse files by topic, geographic area via interactive maps, investigators, series and updates, and additions...and sort results by relevance, alphabetically, by date or by time period. The Teaching and Learning section provides access to a wide range of resources for undergraduates, graduate students, and teachers. Highly recommended, CHOICE Reviews Online, Jan 2012


Professional Associations   back to top


American Sociological Association
ASA homepage includes information on the Association, including its Code of Ethics, and information on careers, graduate schools, publications, etc.

Eastern Sociological Society

Midwest Sociological Society

Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Society for the Study of Social Problems

Get Help   back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Sara Rowe 833-8313
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