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?
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.
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.
"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: