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Sociology Research Guide   Tags: soci, sociology  

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Researching Topics in Sociology

Researching topics in sociology can be challenging because sociology is a broad field of study and because it differs from, but overlaps, other disciplines such as psychology, anthropology and political science. Sociology encompasses many subdisciplines such as the sociology of aging, the sociology of deviance, and environmental sociology. Sociologists obtain their information from a variety of sources such as direct observation, interviews, surveys, controlled laboratory experiments or published accounts. What sociologists have in common is that they study human social behavior and patterns of interaction.

Different types of writing assignments may be required of you in your sociology classes. This guide focuses on what you will need to know to write a successful research paper using library resources. The key element for success is that you adopt a "sociological perspective" as you work on your paper. This involves "seeing individuals interacting as members of social groups" (Sociology Writing Group, 1991).

Researching Topics in Sociology is designed to help you become a more confident researcher by taking you through the steps involved in the research process and by highlighting some key online resources for sociology research. It has been developed by AU Library in consultation with sociology faculty from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

To navigate this guide, use the tabs at the top. In the left navigation bar you will find links to other tutorials that you may find helpful as you work through the research process. If you have questions or comments about this guide, or need assistance, you may contact us by phone (1-800-788-9041, ext. 6254) or by email (

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