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Sociology Subject Guide: online library support

Subject Guide - help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

                Welcome to the Sociology LibGuide
     β€‹Use this Subject LibGuide to help you make the most of the library and information resources.

New to the University?  Explore the Getting Started with the Library guide to learn all about the Library basics. 

Your Sociology Librarian

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Nicola Howorth

Where to start your search

Library Search

Search across the print and online collections for books, chapters, articles, journals and lots more. 

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Expand your search

Library Search is a good starting point for finding material on topic.  However, if you want to research the global literature on a topic, and go beyond quick full text results, then you should follow up with a database search. 

Research databases index the global literature and provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings,  reports etc that match your search criteria. They help you to find information about previous publications in your research field. You can tailor your search more precisely using all the sophisticated functionality available on the research databases.   

You can also target particular types of  online resources such as news sources, official publications, statistics etc.


Research databases provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings, reports and other types of  material that match your search keywords.

 Key Databases

These three databases are all available from Proquest. Use their LibGuides for comnprhensive support and training:

You can explore thw wider literature across the social sciences using the following databases.

JSTOR provides access to scholarly book, journal and primary sources via an easy to use search interface. You can limit your searching to specific disciplines, e.g. Socioloogy.

To learn more about JSTOR, take a look at the short introductory tutorial.

Use the Databases A-Z List to access all the resources available to you.

You can browse by subject (e.g. Sociology or Anthropology) or type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resource.

You can use the following catalogues to search for material held at other libraries:

  • Library Hub Discover - search and locate books and journals throughout the collections of the UK research and specialist libraries.
  • WorldCAT - lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and tens of thousands more around the world.  It also has a mobile app you can download.
  • The European Library - gives access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress - contains the catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections in the USA.
  • LibWeb - Access to a listing of online library catalogues worldwide
  • CORE - gives an incredibly fast search of the full-text of 80M open access research resources

I'm looking for...

Ethnographies are first hand descriptive works of a particular group/culture,  based on the immersive observations of the researcher.

Fnd out more about locating ethnographic materials in the library collections on the Ethnographies LibGuide.


You may need to use a range of information types beyond traditional academic books and journal articles, explore the range of sources on the Information Types guide

News sources can be invaluable research resources. 

They provide contemporaneous accounts of events as they emerge and unfold, affording a snapshot of developments at a point in time.

By using news archive services, you can also engage in historical research by tracing commentary on issues over time, to identify and track changing political, economic and social trends. .

The availability of news resources online allows for very effective and comprehensive searching

Find out more on the News LibGuide. 

Access all the news resources from the  A-Z Database List. 

Reference resources such as almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias and thesauri enable you to:

  • examine facts and statistics about the world
  • decipher abbreviations and definitions
  • gain an overview of a topic                                     

They can be really useful resources as you begin your background research into a topic, before you move on to more in depth research via your Subject databases.

In many cases, these resources are now available in digital format, allowing you to easily and quickly access the information you need.

Find out more on the Online Reference Resources LibGuide.

Official publications can be broadly defined as the documents and materials produced by the government and governmental departments during the course of government business.

Content ranges from statements of law and policy to government reports and statistics.  These publications can be a valuable primary research source and are especially useful to those researching in law, politics and history.  However, they are of relevance across all subjects as they address all aspects of governmental work such as science, education, law, agriculture, transport, health etc.

Find out more on the Official Publications LibGuide

View the list of Official Publications databases in the Database A-Z List

Statistics is the science of collecting, analysing and presenting numerical data and can be a vital source of information for your studies.

Statistical data can be found on a huge variety of subjects, for example the economy, employment, the environment, government, health, international trade, manufacturing, and population.

Find out more on the Statistics LibGuide.

The Census (UK) is undertaken by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Census data is available to academic institutions via the UK Data Service.

The Census Data LibGuide provides full details about the resources available to you and how to effectively search these resources.

  • TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).  

  • You can explore TED Talks related to the topic of Sociology

  • You'll find talks on all sorts of other topics too.

  • The latest and most popular talks are available from the TED homepage

Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of study skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Study Skills Support

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

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