The study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. Sociology tends to focus on industrialized societies, human behavior in groups, how groups form, how they are organized, how they interact and how they change. Start your research with:
Consider these questions:
- Who is the focus of my research topic (adolescents, men, college-aged women, elderly, etc.)?
- What phenomenon I am searching for (social media, brainwashing, the effects of advertising, etc.)?
- What do I want to focus on within sociology (options for resolving the issue, socio-economic factors, prevalence, etc.)?
Why narrow my topic?
Answering the above questions will get you keywords (concepts or terms) to search with. Be specific in your searches so that you are not bombarded with too many results.
Add these words or phrases:
- social issues (e.g., brainwashing and “social issues”)
- social context (e.g., addiction and “social context”)
- group behavior (e.g., homeless and “group behavior”)
Additional social issues databases
OpenStax “Intro to Sociology” 2nd edition contains comprehensive coverage of core concepts, foundational scholars, and emerging theories in sociology.
Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology
Oxford Dictionary of Sociology (print Reference HM 425 .D5735 2005)
The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (print Reference HM 425 .C66 2011)World of Sociology (Gale) A comprehensive, subject-specific guide to the concepts, theories, discoveries, developments and pioneers related to the field of sociology. Encyclopedia of Race & Racism
Social Theory: the Multicultural, Global, and Classic Readings (print Stacks HM 585 .S584 2013)
Sociology from Ted: Ideas Worth Spreading
Shorts and animations from the Royal Sociological Society.
Browse the Stacks
Through Sociology, we study our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes. ASA Topics web pages provide various lenses through which to explore those studies, their findings and the questions that they trigger.
Undergraduate Resources from the ASA. Thinking about majoring in Sociology?
Contexts (ASA blog)
Everyday Sociology Blog Features interesting, informative, and most of all entertaining commentary from sociologists around the United States
Sociological Images encourages all kinds of people to exercise and develop their sociological imagination by presenting brief discussions of compelling and timely imagery that span the breadth of sociological inquiry.
Sociology Podcast Series (from Sage Publications)
ASA Style Guide
American Sociological Association (ASA) Style Guide is available at the Reference Desk. Purdue has produced some basic information on ASA Style for citations. Your instructor may want you to use another style. Be sure to check first.
Additional research support
IRIS (Information & Research Instruction Suite) is a helpful tutorial on the library research process, from beginning to end.
Avoiding plagiarism and citing sources (general info)