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SOC1020: Social Problems: Finding Articles

Statistical Resources


Finding statistics to support your argument can sometimes be difficult.

Occasionally, you'll find supporting data in the articles you are reading, or at least some information on where to find the statistics.

Government Websites

The U.S. Government makes available many statistical sources through it's various departments and divisions.  While this is great information, it can sometimes be difficult to find what you're looking for.

Some useful examples might be:

To limit a Google search to JUST government resources, include the following in your search terms:


The Statista database pulls together data on over 80.000 topics from over 18.000 sources onto a single platform. Data sources include market research reports, trade publications, scientific journals, and government databases.  A great place to find supporting statistics on many topics.

Pew Research Center

"Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world."  A great place for finding overviews of current topics.

Databases & Journal Collections

Even though you might be tempted to Google articles for your projects, the better way to find quality research is through the Library's databases.  The databases listed below are a great starting point for finding information about minorities in the United States.

Check out the tips to the left, for pointers on putting together an effective search.

Overview Databases

These sources will give you a broad understanding of a major topic, allowing you to explore and find just *part* of it to study.  Remember, some topics are just too big to tackle all at once.

Sociology/Criminal Justice Databases

These databases focus on the social aspects of topics, and will be used by you in many of your upper-level sociology classes.  Remember that some topics might be represented in many different areas, so these resources should be your starting point for in-depth research... but not the last place you look.

General Databases

These databases cover MANY topics, but might not be specific to the area that you're interested in.  For instance, if you were doing research on 'social media', you might find articles in the areas of communication, psychology, and business, in addition to sociology.  When starting a new topic, or one that might have research in many areas, these are good places to begin.

Newspaper & Magazine Articles

While our databases are pretty great at locating Scholarly/Peer Reviewed articles, it's not as easy to identify non-scholarly sources.  Everything is intermingled.


  • ProQuest Newsstream provides access to local, national, and international newspapers and newswires!

Some databases allow you to limit the Source Type to Magazine.  This is one of the more effective ways of narrowing your search to just magazine articles.

Related Databases

Search these databases to find additional information on topics that span more than one area of research.  These may also be useful if your search of the Sociology/Criminal Justice Databases do not find enough results.  They may deal with a specific population, give you insights into why someone might behave a certain way, or give historical information about how things used to be.

Limiting to Scholary/Peer Reviewed Articles

Most of the library databases allow you to limit your search results to those that are Scholarly and/or Peer Reviewed.* 

If your professor requires that most, or all, of your supporting articles be research-based (scholarly, peer reviewed, etc.), then it is important to limit your results before starting to search.

Most databases have one or more checkboxes that must be marked in order to limit to only peer reviewed or scholarly articles, although some will use a dropdown menu or other method for setting this limit.

ALWAYS check this box BEFORE starting a search, to ensure that you are only looking at scholarly/peer-reviewed resources. 


* Not sure what Scholarly/Peer Reviewed means?  Check out our Scholarly v. Popular tutorial.

Found a Citation?

When reviewing articles and books, you might come across a citation for another article that you'd like to use. 

To find out if the Library has the article, use the Journal Search tab on the Library homepage, and search for the journal name (not the name of the article).

This will tell you if we have the full-text of this article in another database OR in paper or microform (WPUNJ Print, WPUNJ Film, WPUNJ Fiche).

Check your citation to find out the year that the article was published and compare it to the available options.