research workshop
sociology 26 // april 11

sarah elichko / social sciences librarian

What guides your research?

Inquiry, or acquisition?

Key tip:

Differentiate between searching and research

Research    →   Larger process of inquiry
→   Seeking partial answers
                                    (sources that inform your understanding)

Intellectual interests




Research question


Today's agenda:

Exploring your research interests

(possible topic ideas)


Searches that work

(getting better results)

Staying organized
(helpful practices and tools)



Exploring your research interests

(possible topic ideas)

Browzine - recently-published research in Sociology journals

Using Browzine:
1. Go to and search Browzine
2. Under Books & More (left), click Access Browzine Web from Swarthmore
3. Click Sociobehavioral Sciences to see Sociology journals

Browse through an issue from one of these journals:
          - American Journal of Sociology
          - American Sociological Review
          - Social Forces

Searches that work: getting better results

Use research tools that highlight academic sources

Sociology Research Tools

    • Databases for finding articles from academic journals
         - Web of Science, JSTOR, Tripod Articles
         - Sociological Abstracts


    • Catalogs for finding books in libraries
         - Tripod - books available in the TriCo
         - Worldcat - books available from other libraries

Search Tripod for class matters to find a
course research guide

Searches that work: getting better results

Start with a basic keyword search in Tripod

Go into Tripod Books & More to view full results. (example)

Try sorting your results:
         - Newest First  (example)

Try filtering your results:

         - Resource Type - limit to books, videos, audio, etc.

         - Year of Publication - e.g. 2005-present


Use one relevant source to find others:
Example: The Power of the Past: Understanding Cross-Class Relationships

         - Subjects --> can be useful search terms

         - Search laterally --> look for reviews + citing sources

Keeping track of your research

Helpful practices for staying organized

Search Logs   A basic record of your searches
                           and terms (keywords + subjects)    

                                   --->>  Research Guide > Worksheets & Tools

Predictability  Store articles + citations consistently:
                           - In one place   (one option: Zotero)
                           - With descriptive filenames

Annotation    When you find a promising source,

                          quickly write down why it seems useful.

Talk over your research //
Email with your questions, or to set up an appointment (selichk1).

Stop by Sarah's office hours:
      Held at the Research & Info Desk in McCabe
      -- Tuesdays, 11am-1pm
      -- Wednesdays 1pm-3pm