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SOC3540: Social Stratification: Tips for Better Searches

This guide will help you in conducting a literature review, and provide you with links to useful resources

Oh No!

My article isn’t available in full-text!

If you’re using a database like Sociological Abstracts, you will only get a short summary of each article (the Abstract); not the full-text.  Click the “Check Here For Full-Text” link on the page to find out whether one of our other databases has it, or if we have another format for this information (print, microfilm, microfiche, etc.).

Be Strategic

Important things to remember when looking for articles:

  • Create a search strategy before you start, by writing a one-sentence description of your topic.  Pick out 2 or 3 key terms, then find similar or related terms and write them down.
  • If the article isn’t full-text, look for a link to Check Here for Full-Text to find out if we have another copy of it available (online, in print, microfiche).


  • Look under Journals & Periodicals link on the Library page for the journal title.
  • If the Library does not subscribe to the journal, you can request a copy through Interlibrary Loan.  Note that this is not instantaneous, so give yourself enough lead time to get the article before your project is due.
  • When you find an interesting article, make sure you get the citation information!  Write down this information so that you (and your professor) can find the article, again.

Try the Thesaurus

Need More Specific Results?

Sometimes keywords that worked well in one database won’t be as effective in another.  If you find that your results are a bit scattered, try using that database’s terminology:  the Thesaurus or Subject Terms link.  Many databases have a list of designated words that are used to summarize a topic, but they may not be obvious to you.


Truncation Finds Multiple Word Forms

The asterisk (*) is usually used, to search words with the same root:

        Sociolog* =  Sociology, Sociological, Sociologist(s), etc.

Wildcard symbols (usually a ‘?’) replace a single letter:

        Wom?n = Woman, Women