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SOCI (McEntee): Scholarly Sources

When and Where Can I Access Databases?

Databases are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can use them on or off campus. If you are using them from off campus you will be prompted to put in your SU username and password (the same one you use for Gull Net, MyClasses, or an SU computer).

Scholarly or Popular?

You will need to find scholarly articles to serve as a solid base for any arguments you make in your paper. Databases have all sorts in them, not just peer reviewed sources. Use the comparisons below to help you figure out if a particular article is scholarly or not. Note that a peer reviewed journal is only one piece of that. Even scholarly journals have opinion pieces, book  reviews, product reviews, etc.

Finding a Sociological Source

Sociological sources, what does that mean?

Dr. McEntee requires you to cite sociological sources. A sociological source needs to be a scholarly source (see above) and either A) written by someone with a degree in sociology/working in the field of sociology or B) published in a sociological journal. So how do we determine that? Say you have developed your keywords to search in a database. You have selected an article from the results list, and you have already determined (via the criteria above in the Scholarly or Popular? box) that it is a scholarly source. Now it is time to determine if it is sociological.

A) written by someone with a degree in Sociology/working in the field of Sociology

Many databases have an authors' affiliations section for each article's record. It may indicate either their degree or that they work in a university's sociology department. You may also consider departments like cultural anthropology, human geography, or others mentioned in Dr. McEntee's course materials to be sociological in nature.

If none of the information is available, you can certainly take to a search engine like Google to see what kind of information you can dig up about an author.

B) published in a sociological journal

Any journal that has sociology (and no other discipline named) in the title or is published by the American Sociological Association (ASA) may be considered a sociological journal. Some big ones to note that do not have sociology in the title, but are indeed sociological journals, are Social Forces, Gender & Society, and Continuity & Change.

Sociological Databases

Multi-Subject Databases

How to Search a Database

If you are unfamiliar with the research process, take a look at this video on how to search a database.

Remember that where you search will affect how you search. So, when searching a multi-subject database, using "sociology" as a keyword might be helpful, but in a subject-specific database like SocINDEX, "sociology" will be far less useful. Think instead about any relevant sociological theories that might be useful in a sociology database, but may be too specific for a database covering far broader topics.

Getting Full Text

Some databases will have the full text of the entire article available within the database, others will only have a citation for the article. When there is only a citation available, you will see a yellow find it button. This button will give you options for getting a full text version of the article. If we have access to it in another database it will be linked there.

Not Available in a Database?

We have two options if something is not available in full text in a database. Please be aware that with many libraries, not just our own, dealing with the coronavirus, articles may be delayed or impossible for us to get right now. That doesn't mean you shouldn't put a request in, but know that there is only so much SU Libraries can do if other libraries are not loaning materials due to staffing issues.

Check Availability in SU Catalog:

If it says this then we may have a hardcopy version on the shelf in the library. Put in a request for ILL and note that we may have a print copy. Someone will attempt to track it down and scan a copy for you. Again, please remember we are also short staffed, so a response for this may still take a few days, and we are limiting requests to 2 requests and 30 pages per day.


Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

means that someone in SU Libraries will do their best to locate a copy of your article from another library. Many libraries are not loaning materials right now, but if we can find a copy for you, you will get an email that a digital copy is available for you.

Article Databases: an A-Z List

You can search for databases by name or by subject.

Databases A-Z List