What is Sociology?
Sociology in classical terms often began with polished theories for systems of society covering economics, education, organization, and certainly social stratification, and sought to fit individuals and groups into those patterms and molds. With the advent of statistical methods in the 1930s, and twentieth century field studies resulting in landmark publications such as Arensberg and Kimball's Family and Community in Ireland in 1941 and William F. Whyte's Street Corner Society in 1943, Sociology can be said to have made a phase shift and become radically different in two respects. One was the newly primary importance of data gathered from surveys and extensive field study as essential foundations for sociological theory. And the second was the validation of the informal society being studied as a legitimate form of social organization, worthy of study, measure, and conclusion. Today, classical sociology and more recent theory in statistics and field studies provide measures and concepts while the broader world provides systems and context for sociological enquiry.
Why does the Library matter in the study of Sociology?
Good research is a matter of method, not magic. These methods can be learned, and learning them is a particularly important part of the field of sociology. As researchers, sociologists are trained to ask empirical questions about the world and systematically collect the data necessary to answer those questions. In this process, sociologists like all good researchers, rely heavily on research already completed by colleagues in sociology and other fields. To discover what researchers already know about a particular subject, sociologists do "literature reviews" In electronic and on-the-shelf resources, the library provides the framework for research in Sociology
Advice for sociological research, May 2003
This guide is designed to lead you through sources necessary to do a comprehensive literature review, and to identify special materials such as numerical data, maps, and alternative formats including video and DVD. When you are ready to do more specialized research, or at any time that you have questions, please email, call or stop by your campus Library to talk to a Librarian.