Salisbury University Libraries

 

Holloway Hall

Research Guide: SOCI101

Getting Help

Hi, I'm Krista Knapp, your friendly research/instructional librarian, and I'm here to help you!

How to get in touch with me:

  • In my office, BL128 (best to make an appointment)

  • By email: kmknapp@salisbury.edu

  • By phone: 410 677 0118

  • At the Research Services Desk.

You can chat with us from 8 am - 10 pm most days. 

You can also get help 24/7 from the Maryland AskUsNow chat service.  Click here for more details.

Background Info

Why can't you just use Wikipedia?

Wikipedia can be useful for some research, especially popular culture topics, and particularly when the entries are well-documented with citations.  However, it should NEVER be cited in an academic paper.  We have so many authoritative, high-quality resources available in the library and accessible online, that you have no excuse not to use them.

If you need background information on Sociology topics, try a reference tool.

And to further drive home my point about Wikipedia not being a valid source, please enjoy this clip from the Colbert Report.  Trust me, it's really amusing!

Finding books and reserves:

Find books in Blackwell Library using our online library catalog. 

Books in our library are arranged using Library of Congress Classification.  The books you can check out are located on the second floor of the library.  If you ever have trouble finding a book you want, PLEASE ask for help at the Research Desk!

Books from other USMAI Libraries

You can also borrow books from any of the USMAI affiliations by selecting the "choose campus" link at the top of the catalog page and then selecting "USMAI All Campuses."  When you find a book you want that is not in Blackwell, click the "request" button and use your ID number to login.  You can have the book delivered to Blackwell within 3 or 4 days.  Here's a short tutorial that shows you how it's done!

Scholarly V. Popular Sources: A Showdown!

Here are the basics: (Check out this handy dandy chart for more information!)

Popular Magazines/Newspapers:

  • glossy, pretty pages with lots of advertisements and pictures

  • written by hired reporters for a general audience

  • short, easily read articles

Scholarly Journals:

  • somewhat dull looking - very few pictures or advertisements

  • written by experts in the field and reviewed by other scholars before publication

  • long articles with citations and bibliographies at the end

Why should you use the library and not Google?

Most of the time, scholarly publications are not available to the general public, nor are they available for free on the internet.  Individuals or organizations (such as a library) subscribe to these publications.  Because subscriptions are expensive, many choose to access this content through libraries. 

Often, content from scholarly journals is indexed in databases that the library subscribes to.  The content is on the web, but it is not accessible unless you are affiliated with the institution that is subscribing.  It isn’t the same thing as just finding a website through a regular Google search.  Sometimes the full text of the article is available through the database; other times it is only a citation to the article and you will need to find the print version of the article in the library or order the article through interlibrary loan if we don’t subscribe to it.

So, basically what I'm saying is that the only way you can access this scholarly information for free is by using the library databases! 

Finding Articles

We have several databases you can use to search for journal, magazine, or newspaper articles.  Some of them only give a citation to the article, and some have the full-text.  Here is a list of databases you might want to try. 

Note: if you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in with your Gull Card barcode number.

  • Academic Search Complete - a multidisciplinary database from EBSCO with a mix of scholarly and popular resources, a lot of full-text and Find It links when there is no full-text available.  This is a great place to start your research.  AND, the EBSCO databases can be searched simultaneously.  Click here to see how! 

  • JSTOR - scholarly full-text resources; the newest documents are 3-5 years old.  Lots of Sociology journals in here!

  • Social Sciences Abstracts - articles and citations for interdisciplinary fields such as addiction studies, anthropology, corrections, economics, gender studies, gerontology, minority studies, political sciences, psychology, sociology, and more.  An EBSCO database.
     

  WHAT DOES THAT CUTE LITTLE FIND IT BUTTON DO, ANYWAY?

It's a bit like magic, really.  The Find It button does three things:

  • Looks in all of our databases to see if the document you want is available full-text in another of our databases.  If so, it links you to it!

  • Links you to the library catalog when we have the item you want in print or microform.

  • Links you to ILLiad (interlibrary loan) so you can borrow the item from another library if we don't have access electronically or in print.

The Find It button is YOUR FRIEND!!!  Here's a tutorial that lets you see the Find It Button in action!


Citing your work:

Plagiarism is not cool.  Of course you want to make sure you give proper credit to any source that you use to write your papers, whether you directly quote or paraphrase.  This guide helps students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Citation Help:

  • Style Guide from the American Sociological Association
  • Guide from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue

 


 
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The librarian liaison to Sociology is Gaylord Robb,
ggrobb@salisbury.edu | 410-677-0118