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SOCI 001: Foundations of Sociology (SC)

Sociology 001: Foundations of Sociology (Laurison) Fall 2018

Is this sociology research?  (Journal Articles)


1. Start by identifying the name of the journal (publication) that published the article.


In the following examples, you'll see the journal listed in bold:

• Collins, Patricia Hill. "Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of black feminist thought." Social problems 33.6 (1986): S14-S32.

• Nella, V. D., Dixon, M., & Carlon, H. (2007). Manufacturing dissent: Labor revitalization, union summer and student protest. Social Forces, 86(1), 193-214. doi:

• Max J. Andrucki & Dana J. Kaplan (2018) Trans objects: materializing queer time in US transmasculine homes, Gender, Place & Culture, 25:6, 781-798, DOI:10.1080/0966369X.2018.1457014


2. Now that you know the journal name, you can look up this journal online. Try to find their official website and look for the About page (which might be called "Aims & Scope" or something similar).

How do the journal's editors describe the purpose of their publication? This description is a place where you'll probably see some indication of the academic discipline(s) connected with the journal.



- About page for the journal Social Problems:  "The journal brings to the forefront influential sociological findings and theories that have the ability to help us both better understand and better deal with our complex social environment."

- Aims & Scope page for the journal Gender, Place & Culture:  "The aim of Gender, Place and Culture is to provide a forum for debate in human geography and related disciplines on theoretically-informed research concerned with gender issues."

Comparing these two, you can see that the primary mission of the journal Social Problems is to share sociology research. The journal Gender, Place & Culture, on the other hand, primarily publishes research from a different academic discipline: human geography.

This is only one of many different clues you can look for to differentiate sociology research and research from other academic disciplines (e.g. history, psychology).

Is it a sociology journal?  Some other clues from the journal website:

  • Look for the scholarly society/organization that is responsible for this journal (if there is one).

    • Example:  For the journal Social Problems, it's the Society for the Study of Social Problems.
    • Example:  For the American Sociological Review, it's the American Sociological Association.
  • Look for the Editorial Board. (These are scholars who oversee the journal.) Are these scholars mostly sociologists?

Who wrote this source?

Use Google to find out about an author's background and credentials.

• Is this author affiliated with a college or university? What department are they in?

• Does this author have a graduate degree in a relevant field, or some other claim to relevant expertise?

If the author has a very common name and you can't find this specific person, try running a search limited to just .edu domains (note: .edu is only used for websites of US higher education institutions).