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Social Studies 98


Contexts, Overviews, Methods


In education research, the "handbook" has a special significance as an orienting source.  

Add the term to a keyword search on an education-related topic and you'll more often than not find one of these research compass points in HOLLIS.

Examples relevant to projects proposed for SS 98te:



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 (culturally responsive pedagogies, educational policy in the U.S., 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.

Examples of potentially relevant bibliographies: 

OBO can also be browsed by category (e.g., Education).  The database updates quarterly and reviews regularly, to keep material current. 

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; a project plannervideo discussions of data collection and research methods; and more.

Research Beyond HOLLIS and JStor


Education Source

Currently considered the most complete collection of education journals in full-text, Education Source also identifies book length studies, education-related yearbooks, and more. It covers all levels of education—from early childhood to higher education—as well as all educational specialties, such as multilingual education and testing.



ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) is a major resource for research in all areas of education. ERIC draws its content from more than 800 journals as well from education-related documents of other kinds:  conference papers, research reports, state, federal, and local education documents, chapters from selected books, curriculum guides, etc.).  

While there will certainly be some overlap with Education Source, ERIC is worth searching to be sure you've not missed essential content.





Produced by the American Psychological Association, this is the premier database for locating research and scholarship in psychology, its many subfields, and allied fields, like education.


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.


Sociology Collection

A core resource for Social Studies concentrators, researchers, professionals, and students working in sociology, social planning and policy, and many related disciplines. It draws its contents from more than 1800 journals, relevant dissertations, selected books and book chapters, and association papers, as well as citations for book reviews and other media.

Race Relations Abstracts

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



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. 



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



​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 distil and synthesize in a non-partisan way. 

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. 


Good for canvassing law journals and finding case law.


The premier higher education source of news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty members and administrators.

The "sister" publication to the Chronicle of Higher education, EdWeek focuses its coverage on issues related to primary and secondary -- pre-collegiate -- education in America.


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). 

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



Other Sources of Help

Education Statistics Research Guide

Diane Sredl, Data Research Librarian, Lamont Library 




Kathleen Donovan, Research and Instructional Services Librarian 

Carla Lillvik, Research and Special Collections Library 

Daniel Becker, Research and Instruction Librarian 

Searching HOLLIS in the Age of COVID




1.  Understand what it is.

HOLLIS combines the extensive contents of our library catalog, the record every item owned by every Harvard Library with those of another, large and multidisciplinary database of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. 


When you search "everything"  searching both of these databases together, at once. For better or for worse, "everything" is our system default. 


2. Know how to work it.

Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front. 




3. Take control of your results.

While the broad and panoramic approach to searching HOLLIS can be mind-opening, you can sometimes find yourself overwhelmed by either the numbers or types of results your search returns.


When that happens, try one of these easy tricks:


Limit your Everything search results set just to the items listed in the LIBRARY CATALOG.

Your numbers will immediately get smaller. Keep in mind, though, that the results will be heavily weighted toward book-length studies.


Limit your Everything search results set to items that are identified as PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES.

You'll eliminate newspaper and magazine materials as well as books, of course, but you'll also raise the visibility of scholarly journal articles in what displays. 


Think about limiting your results to publications from the last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.

By doing so you'll get a snapshot of the most recent research trends and scholarly approaches in a field (or around a particular issue).

Experiment with limiting your searches to materials available  
You'll reduce your numbers of books by a wide margin, not often a good strategy, but an expedient one in exigent circumstances.  Learn more about strategies under the Pandemic Considerations tab. 





Despite the fact that our physical items are unavailable and buildings are shuttered, HOLLIS can and should continue to be a key research resource, wherever students are.  That's in part because of the sheer size and enormous variety of what it contains, but also because the content students can surface there is substantial.  

Here are some ways to think through your digital options in HOLLIS

1. Scan & Deliver

This service, free to Harvard students even before the pandemic, can be a lifesaver when you find something in the catalog that's essential -- but only available in print.

Scan & Deliver allows you to request a PDF of an article, a portion of a book (and now, a portion of a special collection, under some circumstances). Just remember that the library staff  responsible for this service are returning to campus slowly, so the response time (usually within 4 days) may be delayed.

NOTE: Initiate Scan and Deliver requests through HOLLIS.

2. Hathi Trust Temporary Emergency Access Library 

IHathiTrust has a digitized copy, you'll be able to check it out, reserves-style. Presently, loans are given for 1 hour, automatically renewable if there's no waiting list for the item you're using.

Hathi Trust materials can't be downloaded or printed out (when they're in copyright), but the upside is that you'll have excellent access to our collection in print, even when you can't use the print. 

Normally, your access to HathiTrust items is seamless via Harvard; when you see the record details, click on the   link to initiate check out.

NOTE: If you go directly into HathiTrust through the link above, be sure you click on the button, top right  and choose Harvard University.

3. Internet Archive Open Library

For books not available online via a HOLLIS link or through HathiTrust, the Open Library may be a good next step. You'll need to create a free account to "check out" books (temporarily, for up to 2 weeks).  

4. Lamont West Door Pickup (if you're in / near Cambridge)

Materials that are available for checkout are requested online via HOLLIS; they are paged for you by library staff. When they are ready, you receive an email directing you to schedule a pick up time (15-minutes windows, as available)


Tools for 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: