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Social Studies 98


Contexts, Overviews, and Literature Reviews


The Oxford Bibliographies Online combine 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 (mass incarceration, bilingual education, outcomes of social movements and protest activities, social stratification, and so forth).

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.

OBO entries possibly relevant to SS98ta include: 


Hcover image for Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality set of unequally balanced rocksandbook of Income Distribution  

Volume 1  (2000): 14 chapters cover theories, measures, history of the study of income distribution.

Volume 2A  (2015): chapters are grouped under two major categories: "Concepts and Approaches" and "Evidence."

Volume 2B (2015): chapters cover "Explanations" and "Policies." An index can also help facilitate access to relevant topics and geographies.

Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality (2011)

Mainly focused on inequality in highly-developed nations, this handbook offer twenty-seven original contributions on topics ranging from gender to happiness, from poverty to top incomes, and from employers to the welfare state. The authors review and evaluate current trends andi identify add r future directions that inequality research might  take.




Annual Reviews product logo

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

A search of Annual Reviews can therefore help you easily identify—and contextualize—the principal contributions that have been made in your field.  The comprehensive critical review not only summarizes a topic but also roots out errors of fact or concept and provokes discussion that will lead to new research activity. 

The advanced search screen  offers excellent search tips, including ways select certain AR titles or limit to particular disciplines and narrow by date.  

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 reading lists; a project planner' and advice on choosing statistical tests.

Digital Methods: Primers


Lupton, D., ed. (2020). Doing fieldwork in a pandemic

This crowd-sourced Google document was initially intended to help researchers adapt their face-to-face fieldwork to something more "hands off" and appropriately distanced in the age of COVID-19. However, people have added useful material about "born digital" research (i.e, content already generated on the internet by online interactions). The document, no longer open for edits, identifies methods that researchers can use to generate social science data by alternative paths.

Jowett, D. (April 20, 2020). Carrying out qualitative research under lockdown: practical and ethical considerations. 

Remote Research: Library Support for Qualitative Research (Harvard Library Research Guide)

COVID-19 Resources for Sociologists (Spring 2020). Harvard University Contemporary Ethnography and Inequality Workshop.

Scholarly Research and Debate


REPEC (Research Papers in Economics)

IDEAS is a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers in 102 countries to enhance the dissemination of research in economics and related social sciences. The heart of the project is REPEC, a bibliographic database of working papers, journal articles, books, books chapters and software components





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. 

PAIS  (EBSCOhost) 

PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) provides summaries of publications on the full range of political, social, and public policy issues and on any topics that are or might become the subject of legislation. 


Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)

A core resource for Social Studies concentrators, researchers, professionals, and students in sociology, 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.

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.


COVID-19 and Inequality (

COVID -19 Research Resources, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Find Policy (think tanks/working papers)




Think Tanks, Academic Centers, Legislation


A database of U.S. public policy research drawn from over 350 public policy think tanks, nongovernmental organizations, research institutes, university centers, advocacy groups, and other entities. Over 75 public policy topics are covered, from foreign policy to domestic policy. Approximately 250 new records are added weekly. and organizations are reviewed daily in order to add their latest information into the database.

One nice feature of PolicyFile is its ability to browse entities by political leaning (or to limit your results that way, once you've performed a keyword search). 


Find Policy

Brings together the policy writings of leading think tanks, US and global, many of which are scattered across the web and thus difficult to canvass. Criteria for inclusion are described here

You can search Find Policy by general category (development, heath, climate, etc.). You can even search the writings of leading policy "wonks."

Results can be sorted by date or relevance

Brought to you by Transparify, a global think-tank monitoring group.

Harvard Kennedy School Research and Publications page

Provides access to HKS-related books, edited volumes, academic journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, commentary, public testimony, research reports and working papers. 


Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Heller School of Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University 

A research institute that advances economic opportunity and equity for individuals and families, particularly households of color and those kept out of the economic mainstream.

Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

Founded in 2006 in response to a recognition of the "unprecedented threat" that poverty and inequality pose to national and world order, the Center supports research, policy analysis, data collection, and training.  In addition to reports, working papers, and books, it also published a magazine, Pathways, that summarizes cutting-edge studies of poverty and inequality and , evaluates key interventions.

Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, The Graduate Center, CUNY 

The Stone Center conducts and promotes quantitative research using inequality as a lens on society, the economy and politics.  Among its core functions are researching the causes, nature, and consequences of socio-economic inequality. 

The Stone Center is also the official U.S. home of  LIS (Luxembourg Income Study), the important cross-national dataset on inequality produced in Luxembourg.  

In 2021, the Center plans to launch the GW Wealth Project as part of its work. 


ProQuest Congressional 

An essential database for identifying the work of Congress, current and historical, in its four dimensions: legislative, oversight, investigative, and confirmatory. 

ProQuest Congressional also provides access to CRS  (Congressional Research Services) Reports, which provide overviews and issue frames on the host of concerns with which Congress is preoccupied. CRS reports distill and synthesize in a non-partisan way. 

Data: Numbers and Opinions



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)


​​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.


Luxembourg Income Study Database (LIS)

The LIS is the largest available income database of harmonised microdata collected from about 50 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Australasia spanning five decades.

Harmonized into a common framework, LIS datasets contain household- and person-level data ( List of Variables, Printable version ) on labor income, capital income, pensions, public social benefits (excl. pensions) and private transfers, as well as taxes and contributions, demography, employment, and expenditures.

Harvard Data Librarians can answer questions about this dataset. Contact them here:

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:

If you're fairly news to data research, have a look at the Beginner's Guide to Locating and Using Numeric Data. 

U.S. Economic Data Sources are described in the Economics Research Guide.


Tools for Locating Full-Text and Managing Research


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.  

Lean Library: a browser plugin that (nearly always) identifies digital availability of items at Harvard and runs automatically as you search books and articles.  


 Zoteroa free, open source citation management tool will take the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page to the next level. 

It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero.  A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: