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Sociology - Research Guide: Books

A selective guide to reference works in Sociology that goes beyond the basics. Includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides to the literature, bibliographies, finding books, using indexes, annual reviews, style guides, and other resources.


Doctoral dissertations are book-length works of original research. (Some dissertations, typically in economics and demography, are collections of article-length research reports.) Dissertations are particularly useful for several reasons:

  • They may cover current events, or they may address very recent scholarship practices, more quickly than journal articles or books.
  • They may provide very detailed primary-source material (interview transcripts, text reproductions, expanded statistical treatments), methodological descriptions (questionnaires, interview protocols, event recording templates), and other useful supporting information typically omitted from journal articles or books.
  • They include chapter-length literature reviews, as doctoral candidates are expected to situate their dissertation topic within the larger research community.

Sociology Ebook Collections

The Penn Libraries acquire ebooks as single-title purchases, as series or bundles based upon publisher or general topic, and as subscription packages. These are some useful collections of Penn Libraries ebooks for sociological research.

All Penn Libraries ebooks are represented by individual records in Franklin Catalog.

Books at Penn Libraries

Franklin, the Penn Library's online catalog, lists the millions of books, journal titles, and other materials contained in campus libraries. Note: The Biddle Law Library has its own completely separate catalog, LOLA.
You can search Franklin by author, title, journal title, subject, or keyword. For information on searching, consult Franklin Search Help.

Keyword Expert: Use keyword expert searching to combine concepts (X AND Y)and to search for particular words or phrases that might appear in titles or notes or subjects:

Author Keyword: Try corporate bodies such as: United States Dept. of Justice

Subject: Library of Congress subject headings describe books, periodicals, and other items held by Penn Libraries. Some useful headings are listed below, with links to Franklin searches.

household surveys poor
individualism poverty
industrial sociology social ethics
knowledge, sociology of social sciences
microsociology social surveys
older people sociology, urban
political sociology

Library of Congress subject subheadings are useful for narrowing subject searches in Franklin.

economic aspects religious life and customs
economic conditions social aspects
methodology social conditions
psychological aspects social life and customs
relations social policy
religious aspects sociological aspects

These subjects can be combined with geographic terms (e.g. Philadelphia)  or form to narrow your search. Listed below are relevant forms.

case studies longitudinal studies
cross-cultural studies

Books Beyond Penn

Although the Penn Libraries' collection is large, there are still many reasons you might seek materials elsewhere. Listed below are options for finding books at other libraries.

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