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An introduction to Sociology resources at Queen's

The Importance of Background Information

Finding background information at the beginning of your research is especially important if you are unfamiliar with the subject area, or not sure from what angle to approach your topic. The types of information that a background search in a specialized reference work can provide include:

  • Broad overview of the subject
  • Definitions of the topic
  • Introduction to key concepts/issues
  • Names of people who are authorities in the subject field
  • Major dates and events
  • Keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches
  • Bibliographies that lead to additional resources

In addition to the sources listed here, you can also search Omni using the keywords of your topic combined with the type of reference work you would like to locate (for example: encyclopedia, dictionaries, companion, bibliography, or handbook).


Consult bibliographies to find a comprehensive list of sources on a specific topic or a selective list of key works on a topic.
Annual Reviews are collections of critical reviews of the most significant primary research literature to guide researchers to the principal contributions of their field and help them keep up to date in their area of research. Each article is its own search engine, providing a gateway to the essential primary research literature referenced within each topic. Search across the collection or focus in on a specific Annual Review series, such as the Annual Review of Sociology and the Annual Review of Law and Social Science.
Provides reports of trends and bibliographies on a wide range of sociological subjects. Texts or reports are in English or French with summaries in the other language. This set is international in its coverage.
This is a comprehensive bibliography of books, pamphlets, periodicals, and government publications in many languages. Continues the International Bibliography of Sociology, which the Library holds in print, from 1955 to 2003. 
Lists books, journals, primary documents, web resources, and multimedia in various discipline-based subject modules, including Communication and Criminology.

Reference Platforms

In addition to searching your topic in specific reference works, you can also search across the following publisher platforms:

Oxford Reference Online

Sage Reference Online