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SOCI 2005 and 2006 Sociological Imagination and Inquiry: Helpful Tools and Tips

This is a course specific guide covering resources for Sociology and qualitative research methods.


Background Information/Identifying a Topic

Research Methods

Evaluating Sources

Throughout the research process, keep in mind the following as you evaluate the sources you find:

Authority:  Who is the author, and what is his/her affiliation/credentials?  What other publications do they have?  Who is the publisher of the book or journal?  Is it peer-reviewed, from a university press?  In the social sciences and sciences, what is the impact factor of the journal?

Date:  How current is the publication, and is that relevant to your argument?  Remember you will want to identify seminal works as well as current scholarship.

Cited:  In the social sciences and sciences, how many times  is the article, book, or book chapter cited?

Additional advice:

When available, read the abstract and scan the publication for main points.  For books, look for scholarly book reviews.

In the social sciences, you may also want to identify the publication's research question, hypothesis or thesis statement, and findings and interpretation.

Determine the relationship of the source to your topic.

Keep a summary sheet/chart that notes the information above as well as the citation, database used, and date of retrieval.

Next step:

   Prioritize sources.

   Read top sources in depth.

Evaluation Sources

Citation Resources