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SOC 695: Masters Research Practicum

Finding Articles and Books

You will be conducting a literature review of the topics surrounding a research interest of yours. You will be finding at least 15 academic sources (scholarly books and peer reviewed articles). Keep in mind, a literature review is not simply a summary of 15 related articles that come up in a library search, but essentially a map of key research surrounding a specific issue or topic. Your map should be accurate and comprehensive. It serves to track the development of research in a specific area, and when combined with a research question and study as you will be conducting, it contextualizes and connect your study to others, defines key concepts and variables you will be using, and identifies gaps within the existing literature. When done in the correct order, a literature review helps you arrive at the appropriate research questions and helps you design a proper study.

Make use of the many research databases and book collections accessible to you through the Michael Schwartz Library to find literature for your review.

Core Sociology Research Databases

Other Useful Research Databases

Citation Mining

A large part of finding literature is reading backwards; identify key pieces of literature relevant to your topic that have been cited in the papers you already have found. If you keep seeing the same study or theory being cited, that's a good indicator that it should be included in your review as well (if it turns out to be relevant to your topic). 

Moreover, the number of times an article has been cited overall may be an indicator that its worth your attention. We care more about content than citation metrics, but if part of the literature review is mapping significant contributions to the field, this can be a useful approach. 

Use citation indexes to determine the number of times an article or book has been cited, and even see the literature that cites that work.