For this assignment, you will summarize the major points and arguments of a number peer-reviewed articles selected by you based on your choice of topic.
Before you begin to look for sources, think of potential topics to study from a sociological perspective. Your instructor accepts a wide variety of topics, as long as they are investigated through the lens of sociology and the analysis is objective; that is, not influenced by personal feelings or opinions.
For inspiration, look at the American Sociological Association's topic page. You can also use your textbook's table of contents as inspiration, or browse a database or journal.
What demographic are you interested in?
Examples: Children, men, women, single mothers, grandparents, etc.
What aspects or specific concepts are you interested in?
Example: If your topic is divorce, an aspect of it could be how it affects children
What geographic area are you interested in?
Example: Europe, the United States,t the US Midwest, etc.
What specific historical or current time period are you interested in?
Example: The 1950s, the Jim Crow era, etc.
Why and/or how is the topic important to sociology?
What are keywords?
Keywords are also known as key terms. They're not just any word, but specific words that tie directly to a topic; this is why they are key, that is, essential to the specific topic. For example, if the topic is heart disease, a key term would be blood pressure.
Why are keywords important?
The choice of keywords greatly influences your search results. When students say "I can't find anything about my topic," this typically means that they have not used the right key terms in their search. This is why identifying key terms needs to be done before searching begins.
So how do I identify keywords?
OK, I have some keywords. Now what?
Now you can begin running some searches in the databases and online journals. Try simple searches using the AND connector, which connects concepts together and retrieves more targeted results. For example:
Divorce AND children AND academic success
What if I still need help?
Meet with a librarian and get help brainstorming keywords. All it takes is some practice and pretty soon you'll be a keyword generating machine.
SocINDEX is a sociology research database.
Identifying a journal's title in the SocINDEX database
When searching a database, your results will come from different journals. To identify the title of the journal in the SocINDEX database, look at the information towards the top of each result, as in the images below. The journal's name comes after the authors' names. Notice that date, volume and issue information can also be found there.