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Link to Washington and Jefferson College

Sociology

This guide will introduce you to resources you can use when researching in sociology.

Why Use Background Information?

Stack of BooksFinding background information is an important part of the research process. It helps you:

  • learn about topics with which you are unfamiliar
  • identify important facts related to your topic - keywords, dates, events, history, and names and organizations
  • refine your topic
  • find additional sources of information through bibliographies and works cited

Reference Databases

Reviewing the literature or gaining background information on a topic is a critical first step in the research process. You might do this by conducting a Google search or going to Wikipedia and reading up on a subject. We suggest using the reference databases the library subscribes to or books found in the reference section as a scholarly alternative.  

Newspaper Databases

Use our newspaper databases to find newspaper articles on your topic. This is a great way to get some background information, refine your topic, develop keywords, and learn about current events or issues.

Online Social Change TED Talk

The following TED Talk by Zeynep Tufekci explores the challenges of online social change.