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SOCI 016B: Intro to Methods (SC)

Sociology 016B - Researching Communities: Introduction to Sociological Methods (Daniel Laurinson) Fall 2016

Comparing research tools for Sociology and Anthropology

Results from the research tool comparison we did in class: 

Research Tool Best for finding Lets you search for your keyword(s) in: Controlled Vocabulary Includes major Soc/Anth journals? Includes journal articles from 2016?
    Bibliographic info Abstract Table of Contents (books) Full-text articles      
Worldcat Books Yes n/a Yes n/a

Yes - LC Subject Headings

n/a n/a
Tripod Books
& More
Books Yes n/a Yes n/a Yes - LC Subject Headings n/a n/a
Sociological Abstracts Journal articles Yes Yes n/a No Yes - Sociological Abstracts Thesaurus Yes Yes
Anthropology Plus Journal articles Yes No n/a No Yes - Anthropology Plus Thesaurus Yes Yes
JSTOR Journal articles Yes Yes n/a Yes No Yes No
Web of Science Journal articles Yes Yes n/a No No Yes Yes


Considerations for choosing a research tool

Recent vs. older content

To find recently published journal articles from Sociology and Anthropology journals, try:
Web of Science, Sociological Abstracts, and Anthropology Plus


Searching full-text vs. abstracts / bibliographic info

Out of these research tools, only JSTOR lets you search through the full text of articles.
However, this can give you less focused results.
• With full-text search, your search term may only appear somewhere in the middle of the article. 


• Keywords vs. controlled vocabulary / subjects

In addition to keyword searching, some research tools incorporate a controlled vocabulary.
• A controlled vocabulary provides a consistent set of terminology used to describe different topics.
• By choosing search terms from a controlled vocabulary (usually called "subjects"), you may find more relevant results.
Research tools with controlled vocabularies:
• Worldcat and Tripod use the same controlled vocabulary: the Library of Congress Subject Headings.  (look for: Subjects)
• Sociological Abstracts and Anthropology Plus each have their own controlled vocabulary.  (look for: SubjectsThesaurus)