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SOCI 006 - Race & Ethnic Relations: Finding articles - beyond SocAbs

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.

Dissertations

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.

Social sciences databases

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?

  1. Find it in ISI Web of Science.
  2. Look at its "Times Cited" link to see other more recent articles that have included it in their bibliographies.
  3. 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.