MSVU logo

Find Resources
Library Services
About the Library


A guide to research resources in Sociology

SOAN 4414: Research Tips

From your assignment:  "Hancock and Garner argued that the four theorists they discuss are 'transitional giants' in sociological theory.  Your assignment in this project is to assess that claim.  You will be looking for and at ways of measuring the impact on sociology (or other disciplines) of one of the four theorists, to be assigned."

Points to consider:

  • Biographical information: fields of formal and informal study; dates (living or deceased); language of study and publication; nationality.
  • Translations
  • Disciplines:  traditional disciplines impacted (e.g., Sociology), related fields impacted, unrelated fields impacted and new fields that may not have existed when theorists were first publishing.
  • Identify seminal works, themes, theories.
  • Types of publications: books, periodicals (academic vs. professional vs. popular).
  • Other methods of disseminating information (e.g., conferences)
  • Quantity vs. quality of publication

Another reference book to consider:  Dictionary of Cultural and Critical Theory  (Ref. HM 101 D527 1996)

Searching suggestions:

  • Theorists are both the AUTHORS' and the SUBJECTS' of publications: search both ways.
  • Be thorough:  Novanet will display multiple heading for the same person.
  • Wikipedia information should be verified in secondary sources.  Suggestions include:
    • International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (Ref. H 40 A2 I5 2008)
    • Dictionary of Sociology (Ref. HM 17 C66 2005)
  • Google Scholar
  • Subject Databases:  SocIndex and others. Be creative: once you know your theorist's subject area, search databases in related subject areas.
  • Web of Science (Citation Index):  Do a "Cited Reference Search" to discover other authors (in various subject areas) who have cited a particular work.  You will need the title and date of specific works to do this kind of search.

If you do not already have a RefWorks account set up, this is the perfect assignment in which to start!  RefWorks allows you to create a personal database to manage all your research citations.  You can import references from MSVU's online article databases into your RefWorks account.  Then when writing papers, choose from the various citation styles (including ASA), and RefWorks will automatically format a bibliography based on the references in your database.

Your Research Log:

        Start immediately and keep track of all your steps.  A research log cannot be well done after the fact.

Research Appointments
are available!  Book one at the Circulation's main desk in the Library for help with Web of Science, RefWorks, or any other resources.

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.
Creative Commons License

You may copy the guide for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included. Please be aware that the guide may contain links to subscription based services for which access is restricted. We encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials.