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Sociology

a wealth of information related to the Sociology Discipline

Researching articles in EBSCO

For the typical Sociology assignment you'll want to start off in SocIndex, an EBSCOHOST database.

Try entering a relevant keyword in the initial search screen and observe how many results you get. In the example below, the keyword is deviance. The database will look for all records of articles with the word deviance in the title, author names, abstract, subject fields, and anywhere else the word might appear.

We get over 25,000 results, and that's way too many hits to look at. So how might you reduce this number to a more reasonable amount? And more importantly, how do you focus in on what you're interested in?

Narrow by Adding Keywords

One way is to add more keywords. The more keywords you include, the more focused your results will be. For example you could specify geography - terms like United States, Latin America, Western Hemisphere. Or you could specify a population - college students, housewives, women, children, the elderly, etc. You can add more concepts like art, sexuality, drug use, road rage.

Adding elderly and United States takes us from 25,000+ to 1,000 results.

Narrow by Searching Keywords in Article Titles

One way to strongly focus on a keyword is to search it in article titles only. Change the dropdown menu next to the keyword from Select a Field to TI Title.

NARROW BY USING FACETS

"Facets" are categories and limiters listed on the left side of the screen, as you find in many shopping websites such as Amazon. These allow you to quickly narrow down to what you're most interested in.

In SocIndex, the facets are:

  • Limit to:
    • Full Text* -- not necessary - we have many more databases outside of EBSCO!
    • Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed Journals)
    • References Available
  • Limit by:
    • Publication Date
  • Select facets:
    • Source Types -- journal, book, conference paper, magazine, dissertation, etc.
    • Publication -- titles of publications, usually journals, that contain the resulting articles, sorted by highest frequency. Here you might find journal titles specifically on your topic, and you might want to look in a particular title if you think it's especially pertinent.
    • Subject: Thesaurus Term -- controlled vocabulary terms from the SocIndex thesaurus, sorted by highest frequency. You might glean extra keywords by looking these over, or you can follow them as links.
    • Subject -- A looser version of Subject. You might glean extra keywords by looking these over, or you can follow them as links.
    • Geography -- Geographical place such as a country, state, or region.