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Sociology Guide: Search Strategy

Keyword Exercise

Use keywords to find topic arguments in research tools.

For example: for the topic statement: "I believe that violence in video games probably doesn't hurt children."

The keywords would be:      violence  video games   children

Think up alternate keywords using a thesaurus, like the one in Microsoft Word or at

Fill out the keyword sheet below to explore wording that is used to describe your own topic.

Subject Searching

Subject Searching

Why would you want to do a subject search?  Well, let's say you were interested in finding all the books in the library about cats.  You might find books about cats under "Cats," "Kittens," Felines," or a variety of other keywords.  When you search by subject, then all of the synonyms are accounted for, so "Cats" as a subject would include all the books about "Kittens" and "Felines" as well.   Subjects can also serve to narrow your search.  A keyword search of "cats" would retrieve all the books that just have a few pages about cats, whereas a search of the subject "Cats" would retrieve books where the main focus were those cute, furry creatures!   This website from MIT might do a better job of explaining it than I did!

Here are some subjects related to Sociology you might want to try searching for.  This list might also be helpful if you are stumped with a broad topic and need to focus it a bit.  Copy the term or phrase into a search box in the Library Catalog and select "subject" in the left-hand box.  Come on, get creative!  You can combine subjects or subjects and keywords.  Remember, joining terms with "OR" will get you "MORE" results and joining terms with "AND" will narrow your results.  Savvy researchers try lots of different combinations of terms and discover what yields the best results.  Happy searching!

General Sociology

Sociology Research


Sociology -- methodology*

Sociology -- history*

Sociology -- research*

Social conflict

Sociology -- research -- methodology*

Sociology, Philosophy*

Social sciences -- research -- methodology*

Social change   

Social surveys

Social interaction


Social psychology


Political sociology




Developmental Sociology 

Marriage, Family, Sexuality, Gender

Child development  


Educational sociology 


Children – United States*


Older people

Gender identity


Sex role




Feminist theory






Gay men 








Gay and lesbian studies



Community, Groups, Ethnicity, Race

Crime, Deviance, Substance Abuse

Group identity


Social classes

Deviant behavior

Social movements

Mental illness

Social groups

Criminal behavior

Sociology -- United States*


United States -- Social conditions*

Drug abuse

Ethnic groups

Substance abuse

Immigrants -- United States*


United States -- Race relations*

Suicide -- United States*


Juvenile Delinquency


Crime and race

Racism -- United States*

Hate crimes

Race discrimination

Sexual deviation

United States -- Ethnic relations*


Minorities -- United States*


Sociology, Urban*


Sociology, Rural*


Sociology, Medical*


Social medicine


Sociology, Military*


War and society


Protest movements


Industrial sociology


Religion and sociology


Sports -- social aspects*


* take out the dashes, commas, etc. when you put these terms in the search box