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Sociology 15 (Beattie)

Sociological Research Methods

Search Strategies

#1 Identify your question. Identify the key concepts and related terms. Tip:  You may want to re-phrase your question.  There are often commonalities in your questions.

#2 Find an appropriate search tool. Consider your subject matter, discipline of study, type of information needed (e.g. peer reviewed articles)

#3 Start with a simple search based on your key concepts. Tip: You may also have to look at literature that refers to one (not all) aspects of your research question.

#4 Use specific search strategies.

  • Use AND to join dissimilar terms. Use OR to join synonyms or related terms.
  • Truncate words with * to pick up variations of that word.
  • Use "quotation marks" for phrase searching.
  • Use database filters e.g. limit to scholarly journals.
  • Consider searching in a specific field e.g. title (article title) or source (journal title)

#5 Search and skim results. Look for the language and terms that researchers use and that the database assigns to articles (Subjects).

#6 Switch up your searches.  Use promising new terminologyYour search may become more sophisticated.

#7 Explore bibliographies to locate other articles, books, or authors who have written on the same topic. Find known items. Tip: See "Find a Known Item" tab on this guide.

Section 2D

1. How does low socioeconomic status affect the first year GPA of UC Merced students?

How else can we represent "socioeconomic status"?

2. How does physical health affect the way UC Merced students perform academically?

How can we describe physical health in more tangible ways?

3. How does race and social class influence your college friendships?

Do you think "college friendships" will be too narrow for a search?

4. How do the amount of resources (programs, mentors, academic support etc.) in high school influence success in higher education among first-generation students at UC Merced?

Is this partly about academic preparation?  Is it about advantages/disadvantages in high school and influence on college preparedness?  How do we represent success in higher education?  What words might represent a well-resourced school?  What schools are well resourced?

"The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement" - one possible piece

5. Do college students prefer to date someone with similar racial and religious background?

Will the literature refer to this as "partner preference"?

Question to Strategy