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Politics and Sex: Getting Started

Tips for Effective Search Strategies

  1. Searching works best when you have a research question in mind. You should be able to identify key concepts related to your research. These concepts form the basis for your search terms.
  2. Know your topic. Exploring general sources (a chapter in your textbook, an encyclopedia article or other background reading) is a good way to start. The better you undestand a topic, the easier it is to evaluate sources.
  3. What is your purpose? You may be writing an argumentative or persuasive paper. Or, your assignment may require you to analyze research on a topic. Perhaps you are developing a slide presentation based on your evaluation of key sources.
  4. Start early. Until you have done some searching and reading, you might not recognize if your topic is too broad or narrow.
  5. Don't wait until the last minute. Good resources may not be available locally. Allow yourself time for an interlibrary loan.
  6. Select resources appropriate  for your topic. Your professor may ask that you use only peer-reviewed journals. Other professors may want you to use a combination of texts and articles, or news sources. Perhaps you will be doing primary research using interviews or observations.

Selected Reference Sources

There are many subject reference sources that provide good background information plus a list of recommended books and articles at the end of each article. You can find thes by searching the online catalog for the phrase "handbook" or "encyclopedia" in combination with a relevant topic.  Or, ask at the Reference Desk for assistance.


  • Battleground : women, gender, and sexuality (REF HQ1115 .B38 2008)
  • Encyclopedia of gender and society (REF HQ1115 .E54 2009)
  • Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work (REF HQ115 .E53 2006)
  • Feminism and women's rights worldwide ( REF HQ1180 .F424 2010)
  • Handbook of gender, sex, and media (Circulating collection P96.S5 H36 2012)
  • Social issues in America : an encyclopedia (REF HN57 .S624 2006)
  • Violence in America : an encyclopedia  (REF HN90.V5 V5474 1999)


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Opposing Viewpoints and Controversial Issues

There are several series that discuss controversial viewpoints. These books often provide suggested readings and texts for additional research

  • Feminism  -  HQ1155 .F442 2012
  • Male/female roles  - HQ1075 .M354 2010
  • Birth Control - HQ766.15 .B57 2009
  • Domestic Violence - HV6626 .D634 2009
  • Discrimination - JC599.U5 D57 2008
  • Behind the veil of vice : the business and culture of sex in the Middle East - HQ18.M628 B73 2010
  • Minimum wage - HD4918 .M59 2012