Begin with introductory, foundational works to help build your understanding of the area and key issues and aspects.
When you have mapped out the key aspects, you can better target and focus your searches with narrower keywords.
Example articles include the following.
To discover if a work discussed is available via UniSA Library copy the title of the book, article or journal into the Library Catalogue and search.
There are many different types of books (print or electronic).
Books / eBooks may be categorised as:
scholarly | trade | professional | reference | textbook | handbook | monograph | edited volume | conference proceedings
"You should think of it as a book with one consistent argument or set of arguments that runs through from the introduction to the conclusion and is based on research (hence ‘research monograph’). It follows that one or more people may author a monograph." (Epstein, Kenway & Boden 2007, p. 77)
"...peer reviewed original research in book form..." (Clark & Phillips 2014, p. 73)
Access ABS Home
Topics @ a Glance provide lists of statistics under the economy, environment and energy, regional, people and industry headings
ABS Presents Series are general videos with a statistical focus
Popular statistics show what ABS statistics people are using
To find news articles on a particular topic look at the Library databases listed under the News subject heading. These databases contain both Australian and international content:
You may also want to consult the News Media subject guide which includes news wires, RSS feeds, and media releases.
Want to find 'sociology' related Australian newspaper articles?
Use the NewsBank Newspaper database to search for specific Australian articles by selecting the Australia's Newspapers link and search for the article by Headline (change from the default option of All Text), using double quotes around your phrase.
If you don't know the exact headline you can still do a headline search - just add keywords and double quotes. For example theft by headline and "past 12 months" at Date(s) field, would find the articles with the keywords theft in the headline/title which were published in past 12 months. You will then need to look through your results until you find the article you require. You can select the article you require to email or print it.
Completing an essay: a few key steps
This recorded presentation provides a brief outline of key steps in the typically iterative search process - reading, planning, searching, evaluating, refining, searching, managing results... Includes reference harvesting and locating core, influential works.
Before searching, identity the content words and phrases (e.g. medicalisation) and the instruction words (e.g. discuss). What do you need to answer in your essay? This will help guide your searching.
Develop key words and phrases by brainstorming around the essay topics, drawing on definitions from reference works, your readings, course notes and initial literature searching.
For example, initial reading on medicalisation soon uncovers other terms such as social control and deviance.
What terms are appropriate for your essay question?
Use the terms of others in your searches. Look for relevant keywords and phrases in the record e.g. in the title, abstract, and subject fields and use these to refine your search.
Creating a mind map can help you understand your topic and identify key concepts. For example:
More on mindmaps:
Compare the number of results from the following Catalogue searches:
employment identity globalisation
(employment OR work) identity globalisation
Typing OR into the Library Catalogue does not always work well. Keep Catalogue searches in basic, one-box search simple and try repeating searches with different combinations of terms.
The Catalogue and many databases including Sociological Abstracts provide both a Basic search and Advanced search:
AND is assumed i.e. (employment OR work OR occupation) AND identity.
You can enter the terms for each concept on a separate row. The rows are combined with AND.
In many search interfaces (including the Catalogue and ProQuest) you can use double quotation marks to find two or more words next to each other in that order.
As authors can use words in many different combinations, don't overuse this tool - you might miss relevant literature. Only use it when you need to avoid irrelevant results. For example, searching for "asylum seeker" would not find a publication with the phrasing those seeking asylum
Find alternative word endings using a truncation symbol.
In many search tools including the Catalogue and Sociological Abstracts this is an asterisk.
Example Catalogue search: sociolog* theor*
Some search tools have the option to capture details of references one-by-one or as a batch via
Print | Save | Email | Export to reference management software (e.g. EndNote)
Use the '' double quotes icon to copy a draft citation, and the ellipsis ... to access more options
Use the pin to save items to a list. Access the list from the top of the screen. Make a final selection and ellipsis icon to access options. If you are signed in, the list will be saved; otherwise it will vanish when you close the browser.
The Library Catalogue is a good place to start.
To restrict your search to just sociology-related material, try the search tool Sociological Abstracts.
Learn more about databases
This recorded presentation covers: what a database is; databases and ‘platforms’ (interfaces or providers); common features of database platforms; keywords vs subject headings; accessing and choosing databases.
Example Advanced Search - keywords
One concept per row, using OR for synonyms.
Searching 'Anywhere' finds terms in any part of the record e.g. title, abstract.
Thesaurus and subject headings
When you find a relevant record, look at the terms listed next to Subject and refine (modify) your search to include any that appear relevant. The search example above includes a number of terms that are official 'subject headings' from the Sociological Abstracts thesaurus of descriptive terms. Not all records in the database have subject headings, so searching for these useful terms 'Anywhere' rather than in the Subject field will maximise your results.
You can limit your results to a broad subject area using these codes.
View the recorded presentation 'Scholarly' and 'peer reviewed'
The presentation covers:
- Defining 'academic', 'scholarly' and 'peer reviewed'
- Indicators that will help you determine if a book or article is scholarly
- The peer review process and finding peer reviewed articles
- Beyond peer review: journal rank and more
A few links to resources mentioned in the presentation: