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Social Studies 98


Finding Contexts, Overviews, and Lit Reviews


The Oxford Handbook of Migration Crises (2019)  TABLE OF CONTENTS

This volume deconstructs and questions representations of migrations as crises, examining how crises arise, what is a crisis, and how this concept is used in the media and politics in transit and receiving countries. 48 articles are organized around the following themes: 1) historical contexts; 2) constructions of crises; the contexts of protracted conflicts; climate and environment; migration corridors and transit countries; policy responses: criminalization, control, detention; media constructions and visual culture; gendered constructions of crises; and integration,multiculturalism, and membership.



The Oxford Handbook of International Migration (2012)   TABLE OF CONTENTS

29 field specialists to consider the major questions and challenges related to the issue of international migration. Integrating the perspectives of the wide variety of fields that hold a stake in the study of migration: political science, sociology, economics, and anthropology.

Articles cluster under 5 main themes: 1) causes of international migration; 2) consequences (at both ends of the migration chain);3) questions of immigration policy (including public opinion responses); 4) aspects of immigration (like segmented assimilation, immigrant incorporation, etc.); and 5) contemporary issues around migration (trans-border crime and terrorism, migration and organized labor, international regionalism, normative debates about citizenship and immigration, and the recent history of U.S. immigration policymaking).

The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (2014)  TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Refugee and Forced Migration Studies emerged in the 1980s and has grown rapidly as scholars and policy analysts study displacement worldwide.  In this handbook, 52 chapters, written by leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers working in universities, research centers, think tanks, NGOs, and international organizations across every continent, provide a comprehensive and cutting-edge overview of the key intellectual, political, social, and institutional challenges arising from mass displacement. Contributors highlight the key challenges faced by academics and practitioners working with and for forcibly displaced populations around the world, as well as identifying new directions for research in the field. 

Part 1 may be especially helpful in setting out the broad differences between methodological approaches in law, sociology, anthropology, history, economics, politics, and human geography studies. 

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies  (2013)   TABLE OF CONTENTS

47 essays offer a conceptual approach to the study of international migration, exploring clearly the many modes of exit, reception and incorporation which involve varied populations in disparate political, economic, social and cultural contexts. 

The Handbook also provides a section devoted to exploring methods for studying international migration. Available only in print. 





Oxford Bibliographies Online

OBOs combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia. They aim to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad social, political, cultural or interdisciplinary disciplinary topic. They're regularly updated to remain current.

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. Examples of entries that might be useful for SS 98mi projects include:


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

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. 


Migration Policy Institute is a non-partisan, nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide.

Its Country Resources Page catalogues and contextualizes the migration experiences of many countries around the world. As the main arbiters of where, when, and how people may cross borders, individual countries still hold many of the keys to the immigration and integration trajectories of increasingly diverse flows of migrants. 


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.

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 Journal Databases: beyond HOLLIS and JStor


Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost)   MULTIDISCIPLINARY

The advantages of Academic Search Premier are 1) its multidisciplinary; 2) its inclusion of very recent content; 3) its mix of scholarly, news, and magazine content.  Your searching may seem more controlled than in HOLLIS+ and less narrowly focused than JSTOR, but that said, ASP can sometimes also seem broader than it is deep.  When that's the case, try one of the databases listed below, or scan the longer list of EBSCOhost databases that the Harvard Libraries subscribes to. 

Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)

A core resource for 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. Sociological Abstracts sits inside a larger multidisciplinary database, the Social Sciences Premium Collection for those times when broader exploration is warranted. 

Worldwide Political Sciences 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. WPSA sits inside a larger multidisciplinary database, the Social Sciences Premium Collection for those times when broader exploration is warranted. 

Anthropology Plus (Ebscohost)

A broad and rich resource for education and research in anthropology and related fields. This database allows you to discover scholarship published in all core periodical as well as lesser-known journals from the early 19th century to today; commentaries, ethnographies, reports, and larger edited works are also included. 

​PhilPapers: Immigration

An online directory of online academic research in all aspects of philosophy.  Among its helpful features is the ability to browse a topic list that has been defined and is maintained by the site's philosopher-community. One of its current aims is to classify all its contents according to a finely grained taxonomy.

For some topics, headnotes summarize major trends, influential works, controversies and debates, and even identify good introductory texts for those new to a philosophical concept.  Examples:

Need a different lens? Browse / search Harvard's subject databases here.



Think Tanks, Policy Studies, Conference Papers, and Data


CIAO [Columbia International Affairs Online]


CIAO is the most comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs.


The Migration Policy Institute is a non-partisan, nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide.

MPI provides analysis, development, and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at local, national, and international levels. It aims to meet the demand for pragmatic and thoughtful responses to the challenges and opportunities of large-scale migrations, whether voluntary or forced.

Reports, fact sheets, commentary, and more can be browsed by topic, region, program, project, and initiative

MPI also hosts an online journal, Migration Information Source and an extensive data hub


MPI Europe, located in Brussels and established n 2011, provides authoritative research and practical policy design to governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders who seek more effective management of immigration, immigrant integration, and asylum systems, as well as successful outcomes for newcomers, families of immigrant background, and receiving communities throughout Europe.

In addition to the country-level and regional reports and data it offers, MPI Europe also hosted the 2014  New Arrivals in Europe program. It aimed to evaluates the ease with which foreign-born workers within the European Union are able to establish themselves in destination-country labor markets during the first decade after arrival.



These two custom search engines allow you to canvass information that might otherwise be difficult to turn up. Many of these documents are widely distributed on the web but not necessarily included in standard databases of published scholarly research.

The IGO Search Engine  includes material from the World Bank, UN Development Program (UNDP), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), European Union, Organization of American States, the Asian Development Bank and many others.

The NGO Search Engine includes local, regional and international NGOs  and draws its materials from sources as diverse as AARP, Earth Watch Institute, International Crisis Group, OXFAM, the World Agricultural Forum. Sites were chosen based on their consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).



Social Science Research Networka world wide collaborative devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research. It's often an excellent place to check for papers that may have been presented in a pre-publication, "working form" or at conferences. Through a partnership with some major publishers, moreover, SSRN will sometimes identify new studies "in press" (i.e., slated for publication in an upcoming journal issue).  Most documents are downloadable free of charge, in keeping with the site's emphasis on open access. 




Library Data Expert: Diane Sredl, Data Research Librarian 

Migration and COVID-19


What Does COVID-19 Distract Us From? A Migration Studies Perspective on the Inequities of AttentionSocial Anthropology (May 2020).

Migration and Mobility After the 2020 Pandemic: End of an Age? (COMPAS, Oxford University)

This paper sets an agenda for research on the future of human migration and mobility after the 2020 Pandemic. It poses ten key questions: (1) Will countries need less labour migration? (2) Will migrant decision-making change? (3) Will anti-immigrant sentiment grow? (4) Will autocratic regimes suppress diversity? (5) Will migration restrictions proliferate? (6) Will ‘travel bubbles’ become economic regions? (7) Will international student migration recover? (8) Will commuter travel decline? (9) Will immobility reshape cities?, and (10) Will demographic and mobility transitions change course? If such things happen, the Pandemic could mark the end of the long post-war global boom in international population movements that is often called ‘the age of

MPI Coronavrus (COVID-19) Resources

Migration Health Evidence Portal for COVID 19 (Migration Health Research Portal, International Organization for Migration) 

See also: COVID as Subject of Social Science Research 

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: