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Databases beyond SocAbs
Sociological Abstracts is a tremendous resource, but sometimes your subject will straddle its boundaries. If you're working on family topics, you will want to search Family & Society Studies Worldwide. If it's social psychology, PsycINFO will be important. General or nonsubject databases might also be useful, either for their special features (ISI Web of Science) or for the formats they cover (ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Fulltext and Ethnic NewsWATCH).
Ethnic news sources
Newspapers can be an excellent source of information on local ethnic events and issues, as well as providing perspectives on national topics. Newspaper databases are oriented toward fulltext searching, which can lead to overwhelming results. Aim for proper nouns (e.g., personal or organization names) and look for headline + lead paragraph field codes.
Searchable fulltext for US and Canadian newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals serving minority and ethnic communities, 1992-present with selected titles available from 1959. An "ethnic group" search filter simplifies searching.
Newsbank Access World News
Searchable fulltext for many newspapers, with particular strength in covering small-circulation newspapers and community newspapers. The best source for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.
Searchable fulltext for many US newspapers, including the New York Times and most recent 6 months of the Los Angeles Times.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers
Searchable fulltext with page-image reproductions. In addition to the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, the collection includes many African American newspapers and national and regional Jewish newspapers. Coverage typically runs from the newspaper's start to c.1990 or when it ceased.
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.
ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global (aka UMI)
The comprehensive database of U.S. doctoral dissertations, recently expanded to cover foreign dissertations. For 1997-present, fulltext is often available. For older dissertations, fulltext is scarce - use ILL:Request Book
when fulltext is not available.HINT!
Search PQDT using "Anywhere except full text - ALL". PQDT is a fulltext database, and dissertations are book-length works. "ALL" will search titles and abstracts only.
Social sciences databases
Race Relations Abstracts
Produced for the Institute of Race Relations (UK), a small database that will overlap with SocAbs and IBSS but may cover non-US topics well.
Family & Society Studies Worldwide
Combines several sociology and social psychology databases, including the important Minnesota Inventory of Marriage and Family Literature. As a specialist database, F&SSW offers more detailed indexing for family and group topics than SocAbs.
ERIC (Education Information Resource Center) - ProQuest
If it's about children, ERIC - the US Department of Education's comprehensive index for education research and professional literature - is always a good place to look for both published literature and gray literature.
HINT! ERIC uses "Educational Levels" as SocABS uses "Age Groups". ERIC uses some age subject terms, too: Young Adults, Late Adolescents.
The American Psychological Association's comprehensive database describing the psychological research literature from the 19th century to today.
Contemporary Women's Issues
Covers a wide variety of scholarly and popular periodicals as well as gray literature on global women's issues, 1992-present.
A gray-literature database, indexing reports issued by nonprofits and thinktanks. Useful for identifying organizations interested in your topic, so you can visit their websites.
Bibliography of Asian Studies
The best place to look for Western-language research literature on East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia, 1971-present with selected coverage back to 1779..
HINT! BAS uses "Overseas Communities" to identify populations outside an Asian country. Use "Advanced Search" to select your Asian country, and search for Subject = "overseas communities" along with your topic.
ISI Web of Science - the citation indexes
ISI Web of Science - also known as "The citation indexes", including Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index - is all about article bibliographies. As the database covers a wide range of subjects (it's strongest in the life sciences), your citation chasing will return broader results than similar tools in SocAbs.
Got an article you really like?
- Find it in ISI Web of Science.
- Look at its "Times Cited" link to see other more recent articles that have included it in their bibliographies.
- Look at its "Related Records" to see other articles that share references in their bibliographies.
As the database covers a wide range of subjects (it's strongest in the life sciences), your citation chasing will return broader results than similar tools in PsycINFO.
Got a methodology, tool, or technique you want to see applied to your topic?
- Consult an encyclopedia or handbook for the classic publication about that methodology.
- Do a "Topic search" in ISI Web of Science, the broader the better.
- Do a "Cited Reference search" in ISI Web of Science for the classic publication. (You're looking for the classic's citation in an article bibliography.)
- Use "Search History" to combine the two searches.
When in doubt, ask for help. Cited reference searching in ISI Web of Science can be tricky.