Sociology Research Guide


Barnard Abortion Action Committee demonstrators at a protest, 1976.

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective information research in sociology.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian: 
Jennie Correia
103 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Reference Sources
Journal Articles
Data & Stats
Writing & Citing
Other Research Resources

Finding Background Information - Using Reference Sources

Consult scholarly reference sources to get an overview of a topic, an introduction to a theory, definitions to discipline-specific terms, and more.

Finding Books

Finding Journal Articles/Using Article Databases

  • Annual Review of Sociology is great for getting comprehensive summaries of research on specific topics in the field. Look at the bibliographies to lead you to the original works cited.
  • Gender Studies Database features research in women's studies, men's studies, gender studies, and sexuality studies.  Source documents include professional journals, conference papers, books, book chapters, government reports, discussion and working papers, and theses & dissertations.
  • GenderWatch includes full text from contemporary scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, NGO and special reports.
  • Google Scholar is very useful for seeing if a book, article, etc. has been cited by other scholars. Search on the title, and then follow the "Cited by ..." link. 
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) contains core social sciences and related materials from over 100 countries in more than 90 languages (including over 2600 journals and books, book reviews, and book chapters).
  • JSTOR provides the full text of back issues from core scholarly journals in sociology and other fields in the humanities and social sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Please note that, generally, this database does not include issues published in the last few years. You can search just the sociology journals in JSTOR by using the Advanced Search "NARROW BY DISCIPLINE AND/OR JOURNAL" feature.
  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a large repository of open-access papers that includes the Economic Research Network, Financial Economics Network, and Health Economics Network. 
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) is a multidisciplinary database with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the social sciences. It links publications based on citations allowing you to search the "web" of communication surrounding a topic. You also can search Science Citation Index and Arts & Humanities Index simultaneously with the Social Science Citation Index - click on "MORE SETTINGS" to select the databases you want to search.
  • SocINDEX with Full Text provides solid coverage of scholarly research in sociology and closely related areas of study, including references to scholarly journals, books, monographs, conference papers, and other content sources.
  • Sociological Abstracts is the best bet when starting a search for scholarly sociological research. This core database covers sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, including research focused in social work, human services, and related areas. The database provides citations from 1963 to the present and include references to journal articles, book reviews, book abstracts, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers.

Finding Data and Statistics

For help finding and analyzing data, check out the Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC). The ERC's calendar lists when staff is available to answer your questions. No appointment necessary!

United States Population, Economic, Education, Health, and Income Data

  • American FactFinder (U.S. Census Bureau) is a key source for population, housing, economic, and geographic data. You can find fact sheets, statistics, and data sets.
  • General Social Survey (GSS) contains a standard 'core' of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have remained unchanged since 1972 to facilitate time-trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings.
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
  • National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) — part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — is the principal health statistics agency in the United States.
  • Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) is the longest running longitudinal household survey in the world, starting in 1968 with a nationally representative sample of over 18,000 individuals living in 5,000 families in the United States. Information on these individuals and their descendants has been collected continuously, including data covering employment, income, wealth, expenditures, health, marriage, childbearing, child development, philanthropy, education, and numerous other topics.
  • Social Explorer helps you visually analyze and understand a variety of data sets, including U.S. demographic, crime, health, election, and religion data, as well as international data such as World Bank World Development Indicators.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States. Once provided free from the U.S. Census Bureau, now provided by ProQuest.

Opinion Poll Data

  • iPoll databank @ the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research provides comprehensive, up-to-date source for U.S. nationwide public opinion. The iPoll online database is organized at the question level, enabling access to responses to nearly a half million questions asked on national public opinion surveys from 1935 to the present. Surveys archived in the Roper Catalog were originally gathered by academic, commercial and media survey organizations such as Gallup Organization, Harris Interactive, Pew Research Associates, and  more.
  • Pew Research Center is a think tank that conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research.
  • Gallup Polls conducts public opinion polls on political, social, and economic issues.
  • Gallup Analytics provides access to Gallup's U.S. Daily tracking and World Poll data - with data from countries that are home to more than 98% of the world's population. Polls cover topics such as economic conditions, government and business, health and well-being, infrastructure, and education. ACCESS NOTE: This database is restricted to one user at a time, if you find you do not have access, please try again later.

Data Archives

International Data​

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) iLibrary is the online publications portal of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
  • UN Data provides statistical time series for countries from around the world covering a wide range of economic and socio-demographic topics. It includes descriptions of the international sources and definitions used in compiling the data.
  • World Bank e-Library is a cross-searchable portal of over 5,000 World Bank documents including the Annual Review of Development Effectiveness, Global Development Finance, Global Poverty Report, Trends in Developing Economies, World Bank Annual Report, World DataBank, World Development Report, World Development Sources, and many more.
  • World DataBank is a compilation of a number of World Bank data products, the most significant one being World Development Indicators. Includes time series data from as early as 1960.

Need even more data sources? Check out Social Science Data & Statistics Sources.

Writing and Citing

  • Barnard Library guides to citation management provides information about citation practices, style guides, and software programs you can use that help you keep track of your sources and create bibliographies.
  • Cite Source presents visual information about how to cite various sources in a visual way, and they offer guidance on citing tricky sources. Check out the source help for APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.​
  • The Craft of Research is an online book that can help guide you through the full research process.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has lots of general and subject specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, Chicago, and MLA styles.
  • Quick Guide to Data Citation (pdf file) is a handy resource from the International Association for Social Science Information Services Technology (IASSIST).

Additional Resources

Last updated April 7, 2016