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Social Studies 98

RESEARCH STARTER KITS FOR JUNIOR TUTORIALS

Contexts, Backgrounds, Overviews, Methods

 

The Oxford Bibliographies Online

OBO combines the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia  in order to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad topic (h).

Often the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance.  OBO entries can help you solve the problem of  knowing what or who to read or which voices in the conversation you should give some fuller attention to.

The database updates quarterly, to keep material current. 

Sample entries relevant to SS 98se include:

 

Literature reviews help you easily understand—and contextualize—the principal contributions that have been made in your field. They not only track trends over time in the scholarly discussions of a topic, but also synthesize and connect related work. They cite the trailblazers and sometimes the outliers, and they even root out errors of fact or concept. Typically, they include a final section that identifies remaining questions or future directions research might take.

In some of our social sciences subject databases (see suggestions below), you can limit a search to the "review essay" or "literature review." 

We recommend you start with a search of this "classic" tool:


Annual Reviews 

Since 1932,the Annual Reviews series has offered authoritative syntheses of the primary research literature in 46 academic fields, including economics, lawpolitical science, and sociology.

 

TIP: If you find a review that seems on point, but rather dated (10 years or so), try searching for it (or one of the authorities it cites) in Google Scholar. Then follow the “cited by” links. You  may discover something more recent there. 

Sage Research Methods Online

The ultimate methods library, it has more than 1000 books, reference works, journal articles, case studies, and instructional videos by world-leading academics from across the social sciences. It also boasts the largest collection of qualitative methods books available online from any scholarly publisher. 


Users can browse content by topic, discipline, or format type (reference works, book chapters, definitions, etc.).  SRM offers several research tools as well: a methods map;  user- created readng lists; a project planner' and advice on choosing statistical tests.

Finding the Academic Research Conversation: Beyond JSTOR and HOLLIS

Sociology Collection (ProQuest)

A core resource for Social Studies concentrators, researchers, professionals, and students in sociology, social theory, social planning/policy, and related disciplines. It includes citations and abstracts from over 1800 journals, relevant dissertations, selected books and book chapters, and association papers, as well as citations for book reviews and other media.


Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (ProQuest)

WPSA provides citations to and summaries of journal literature in political science and related fields, including political sociology, political theory, economics, law, and public policy. 


Race Relations Abstracts (Ebscohost)

Focuses in particular on issues related to diversity, discrimination, ethnic studies, immigration, and other essential areas of race relations.


The Left Index

A guide to the diverse literature of the left, with an emphasis on political, economic, social and culturally engaged scholarship both inside and outside of academia. A secondary emphasis is on significant but little known sources of news and ideas. Other topics covered include the labor movement, ecology and environment, race and ethnicity, social and cultural theory, sociology, art and aesthetics, philosophy, history, education, law, and globalization


PAIS Index (Public Affairs Information System)

A public policy database that covers U.S. issues of domestic and legistlative concern as well as international topics.


America: History and Life (EBSCOhost)

The premier database for deep access to scholarly books, journals, and dissertations on the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. AHL included all the leading English-language historical journals as well as some international publications.  (Its companion database for world history  is Historical Abstracts. ) 

TIP: In a historically-focused database like AHL, you can set date parameters (a range of years or centuries) to identify the historical period a book or article covers and is about. Most other databases only let you limit to publication date of the articles themselves.

 

News: Current, Historical, Themed

 

CURRENT

A news and business information database produced by the Dow Jones company, containing content from more than 200 countries (and in 28 languages, though English predominates). Material is drawn from newspapers, news sites, newswires, TV and radio transcripts.  Full-text coverage varies by title, but is generally better from 1980 forward. Factiva is the major competitor to NexisUni (see below) for current news access.

A powerful news database which covers more than 3000 newspapers from around the globe, most in English (or English translation). Coverage varies by title but usually dates from the 1980s forward. NexisUni is also good for searching  transcripts of major TV  and radio news broadcasts (including BBC and NPR). 


THEMED

A current resource of full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, providing researchers access to essential, often overlooked perspectives.


HISTORICAL

 

 

RELATED RESEARCH GUIDES FOR PRIMARY SOURCES

 

Data: Numbers and Opinions

 

Statista

A statistics portal that integrates over 60,000 diverse topics of data and facts from over 10,000 sources onto a single platform. Statista provides business customers, researchers, and the academic community with access to quantitative facts on agriculture, finance, politics, and additional areas of interest. Sources of information include market researchers, trade publications, scientific journals, and government databases. 

ProQuest Statistical, one of the library's subscription databases, is a  rich compilation of macro-level data, both national and international. Among the types most pertinent to SS 98nb:

  • US Federal statistical publications. 5,000 titles/year. Coverage from 1973; full text from 2004. (Also known as American Statistics Index, or ASI)

  • State government and business statistical reports. 2,200 titles/year. Coverage from 1980; full text from 2007.(Also known as Statistics Reference Index, or SRI)

 

Pew Research Center 

The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world by conducting public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. Pew is non-profit, non-partisan, and non-advocacy. Examples of Pew publications and interest clusters:

 

​​The General Social Survey (GSS) gathers data on contemporary American society in order to monitor and explain trends and constants in attitudes, behaviors, and attributes.  Hundreds of trends have been tracked since 1972. In addition, since the GSS adopted questions from earlier surveys, trends can be followed for up to 70 years.

The GSS contains a standard core of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Among the topics covered are civil liberties, crime and violence, intergroup tolerance, morality, national spending priorities, psychological well-being, social mobility, and stress and traumatic events.

The GSS Data Explorer allows you to select variables and extract data in SPSS or SAS to analyze trends yourself.  Or you can  search on the Key Trends page, topically arranged, for premade graphs. 

 

 

Roper Center | Roper iPoll

The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, located at Cornell University, is one of the world’s leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from public opinion surveys.

The iPoll section of the site enables you to search 650,000 actual public opinion questions.

Since its beginning, the Roper Center has focused on surveys conducted by the news media and commercial polling firmsHowever, it also holds many academic surveys, including important historical collections from the National Opinion Research Center and Princeton University’s Office of Public Opinion Research.

Our government documents and data librarians can help you sort through the complexities of where data sets are located (or even whether there's good data on a topic that interests you). 

Contact them at this address: govdocs@fas.harvard.edu

Research guides on finding and using data of various kinds at Harvard are collected here: Beginner's Guide to Locating and Using Numeric Data. 

If you're new to visualization techniques, you'll find information on types and their various argumentative strengths on this Law School Library guide: Visualization Tools

Lamont Library's Media Services department offers personalized consultations and a variety of ongoing workshops. Read more about our Visualization Support.

A Few Types of Primary Sources

 

IN HOLLIS

  • Words matter: ethnograph*, case study, personal narrative, sources, correspondence, interviews, images  are just some of the terms in which primary sources are typically described. 

 

LEGISLATIVE

Hearings, legislation, legislative histories, committee reports, CRS (legislative background reports)

 

SOURCES OF ARCHIVAL MATERIAL

Note: To limit to collections with some digitized content, add the code has_links:1 to your keyword search. 

 

THEMED COLLECTIONS

 

 

Tools for Locating Full-Text and Managing Your Sources

 


Google Scholar Settings: One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively a Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide. Here's what to do:  Look to the left of the GS screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on .  Look for "Library Links."  Then type Harvard University into the search box and save your choice.  As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep.  


If you've used NoodleTools or EasyBib in high school  -- or even if you've figured out the the pin and cite options in HOLLIS -- Zotero will take you to a whole new level. 

This free, open source citation management tool makes the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page stress-free and nearly effortless.

It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero. A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero.