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SOCY 122 ASO Section 700: Introduction to Academic Library Research

Searching Sociological Abstracts

The default search is all fields (keyword). This means you can enter your search terms in the boxes provided and the database will retrieve all citations that have your search terms anywhere in the record (title, author, abstract, journal title, subjects etc.). To execute more specific searches, and retrieve more relevant results, consider limiting your search to Abstract.

Enter your topic keywords in the search boxes. For example, if I were looking for articles on the income gap between men and women, my keywords to begin with could be: "pay gap" OR "income gap" AND gender OR women

sample search

Adjust the default setting from Anywhere to Abstract, which will return results that are more on topic because your search words must appear in the abstract (or summary) of the item, as opposed to anywhere in the item record. Limit your search results to peer reviewed (scholarly), apply a publication date range limit, restrict your source type to scholarly journals and so forth.  If you are searching for scholarly journal articles (which is often what is required in your coursework) it is very convenient to be able to restrict your search results to only the type of research that you want to examine. Once you have applied the search options, click the Search button.

Viewing Results

The database will return a list of citations that match your search terms:

sociological abstracts results list

Subject Terms

Sociological Abstracts (and many other library databases), has useful features and filters that one can use to make your searches precise and well structured. The specialized thesaurus in Sociological Abstracts is an alphabetical listing of all the subject terms in the database, used to classify and organize information in the database. Once you locate an article that is relevant, notice the subjects assigned to the article. You can use them in a new search to discover more articles on the subject.

citation from soc abs

Subject Terms Assigned to Article:

  • Check the boxes next to the relevant subject terms and click Search
    •  This will retrieve all items in the database with those
      assigned subject(s). 
  • Subject terms can also be used in new keyword searches 

Filters to Narrow Results

If you didn't apply any search limits (such as to peer reviewed) on the Advanced Search screen when you initiated your search, you can filter your results using the Narrow results by facets to the left of your search results:

Article Record

When you locate a citation that looks relevant to your topic, click on the Preview document link (or the title of the article) to read the abstract (summary) of the article.

If the article interests you, you can click on the link to the Abstract/Details to learn more about the article and the source it was published in. The subject terms are very useful - they provide a succinct snapshot of what the article is about and you can use the subject terms in new searches. 

From Abstract (summary) view you can also email/save/print the selected search result. Clicking the Cite link will provide you with an option to create an ASA style citation for the article. As with all databases that create citations in your specified style, always consult an official style guide to confirm the accuracy of your citations.

Accessing Full Text

To access the full text of the article if it is not in the database, click on the Find it button (note that in other databases it may be a Get it @ Queen's button), which will trigger a search across the library's electronic subscriptions and print holdings to determine if you have access to the article.  Many, but not all, Library databases have the Find it/Get It! service. If you don't see a link to the full text (in either HTML or PDF), and there isn't a Find it or Get It! button, search Omni for the name of the journal to determine if Queen's owns a copy.