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SOCL 155: Foundations in Social Theory (HC)

Sociology 155: Foundations in Social Theory (Gould/ McKeever) Fall 2018

Tips for Searching Part 1

Subject Headings allow you to find relevant material grouped together including titles that do not use the keywords you may have been searching.

 

Finding subject headings

Look at a book record in Tripod, check the subjects assigned to it, and choose whatever ones are relevant for your research.

Example:  Jürgen Habermas on Society and Politics (1989).

      Subjects:

            Sociology Philosophy

            Sociology Methodology

            Social structure

            Political sociology

            Subject search Political sociology=487 results!

            Narrowing to Political sociology Case studies=3 results

 

Refining subject searches

You can combine different concepts into a single subject search for precision.  The results are more focused than a keyword search.

But all the words have to be terminology used in library subject cataloging.

To ensure this, you can use subject headings you have already found.  Another option is to browse in the subject headings for more choices.                   

      Combination subject search:

      "Sociology urban Cross-cultural studies" OR "Sociology urban History"=6 results

Recommended Subject Headings

These links go to subject searches for books on Tripod. You can use these same subject headings to search for articles in Tripod or on specific databases. Remember, you can narrow your search by limiting fields on the right, including format type, language, and year of publication.

Tips for Searching Part 2

If you search a catalog or database and receive a large number of results, add a limit or additional keyword in order to retrieve a manageable and relevant number of results to review.  At the same time overly narrow search terms can return too few results.  One way of solving both problems is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), which allow you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.

For example, a search for sociology AND theory will return items that contain both "sociology" and "theory":

 

semiotics OR signification returns items that contain either one of the terms or both:


ritual NOT religio* returns items that talk about non-religious ritual:




Phrase searching:

An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("public sphere") or titles:

For example, "culture industry"

will search for those words in that order, finding the 1991 collection of Adorno essays.

 

Truncation and Wildcards:

Most catalogs and databases enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.

For example, one could search for politic*  to find politic, politics, political, politicking, and so on.

Wildcard searches are for differences within words: a search for wom?n will return results for woman, women, and womyn.

 

Nested Searching:

When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is important to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.

For example, (interaction* OR "face-to-face") AND (relation* OR social) AND theory will return results for the union of the two subject areas.

In the Proquest Sociology database this search returns results including David Unrah. "Characteristics and Types of Participation in Social Worlds." (Fall 1979). Symbolic Interaction 2.2, 115-130.