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Social Sciences E-100B | Graduate Proseminar (Orkaby)

GRADUATE RESEARCH METHODS AND SCHOLARLY WRITING IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

 

WELCOME!

This guide is meant to offer you a first point of entry into major resources for accessing scholarly sources in the Harvard research environment.  The intent is neither to be comprehensive nor finely grained -- we want to give you just enough to encourage exploration  and help your gain shield of the Extension school with books (spelling veritas), wheat baskets, oil lampconfidence, without overwhelming you with choices.

Research is about hypothesis-making and testing and for that reason, you'll find that it's more iterative than linear. As your project develops and your thinking deepens and expands, other tools, other kinds of information, and other search techniques might need to be added to this knowledge base.

Feel free to contact me, at any point in the process, whenever questions arise.  I may not have the answer myself, but I'll know which Harvard librarians have the expertise you're after and will put you in touch with them. 

Enjoy your work! 

Sue Gilroy, Research Librarian, Lamont Library

Contexts, Literature Reviews, and Methods

 

The Oxford Bibliographies Online combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia.

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. They identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad topic. 

OBO updates quarterly, to keep material current. 

 

 

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

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.

SMART SEARCHING 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.

 

Serendipity and Strategy: Searching HOLLIS

 

USING HOLLIS WELL: THREE CONSIDERATIONS

 

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. 

 

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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. 

 

Try 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).

 
 
 

 

SOME WAYS TO FIND THEM in HOLLIS

  • Sometimes, adding the word sources to a keyword string will retrieve published collections of primary source materials.  Other words that you can try include document* (for documents and documentary); readeranthologycasebook
  • Using the right side limits, adjust the DATE PARAMETERS of your search results. Items that were published on the subject during the period you specify will qualify as primary sources.   

 

  • Using the right side limits, examine the  FORM/GENRE categories. Items that have been tagged with words like "interviews," "autobiography," "memoir," "speeches," "photographs," "correspondence" (and so on) might help you target various kinds of primary sources.

 

 

When you're far from Cambridge, identifying books in print and on shelves in Harvard's library buildings can seem like a futile exercise. You can, however, often get your hands on items your find in HOLLIS even if you live many miles away from the Yard.


SOME OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

1.  WorldCatthis is a database of library catalogs and useful for identifying college, university, and other  library collections that are in your vicinity.  Search for the title and then enter your ZIPCODE to identify your options.


With WorldCat, you're going beyond the BorrowDirect consortium and beyond our reciprocal lending agreements.  However, as long as any of the area libraries allow you in (often a phone call or a scan of the website will clarify policy), you'll be in luck!


2. Check the catalog of the large PUBLIC LIBRARY in your area.  Depending on the region, the size of the library, its mission, and its funding, a local public library may have a significant research component to its collection (The Boston Public Library at Copley Square is a prime example), including e-books and some digitized materials that Harvard may not have.

Public libraries large and small also have access to ebooks, and can be a rich alternative source if Harvard doesn't have what you need or you can't get to our copy.

Moreover, because you are a Harvard student, you're eligible for a BPL ecard, no matter where you're Zooming in from these days; you'll need to sign in with your Harvard email and key to get access, however. See BPL: Who's Eligible for an Ecard for the registration link.

3. Ask your local library about an INTERLIBRARY LOAN.  Libraries routinely borrow from each other on behalf of their patrons; if you have a library card, you should be able to request it (or have a librarian do so).  ILL can take a bit of time, however. You might wait a week or a bit more before the item arrives. Some places charge a small fee for the service. 


5. If you live close by the college or university from which you graduated, ask about ALUMNI PRIVILEGES there; even in COVID times, it's good to check on your options.

DOCUMENT DELIVERY SERVICES AVAILABLE TO YOU:

Scan and Deliver

When an article you need is available in a print journal at Harvard but not online, you can ask us to make a PDF for you through a service called Scan and Deliver.

We'll send you an email when it's ready for downloading, typically between 1 and 4 days after you place the request. Scan and Deliver is a free service to Harvard affiliates.

Scan and Deliver is also an option if you want up to two chapters of any Harvard-owned book digitized for your use.  

Finding the Research Conversation in Journals and White Papers

 

Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost)

 

Why: 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.

ASP can sometimes also seem broader than it is deep. When that's the case, try one of the databases listed below. 

JSTOR

Why: This tried and true database is probably one of the first places you learned to search for scholarly literature. "Smallish" (in relative terms), it's also mighty because the journals it includes are those that, historically, have been considered the most important and most impactful in the fields they cover.  

One nice feature of JSTOR is the ability to zero in on a particular discipline. Scanning the left side limits after you run a straight keyword search might help you pinpoint  you "where" the scholarly conversation is clustering (history, Asian studies, urban studies, etc.). 

One downside of JSTOR: it typically excludes the most recent 1-5 years of the publications it includes (with some exceptions). That means you may want to supplement / update with  in HOLLIS,  Google Scholar, or one of the subject databases listed below.

Google Scholar

Why:  GS searches differently from most library databases, including HOLLIS. In addition to searching "metadata" (lots of descriptive info about a book or article, it also searches full-text . This can be an additional advantage when you've got a very narrow topic or are seeking a "nugget" that traditional database searching can't surface easily. 

Google Scholar incorporates more types of information -- not just books and journal contents-- and depending on your need, comfort level, and perspective, that eclecticism can be an advantage. 

It's also an excellent way to follow CITATION TRAILS. Enter the title of a book or journal article and then click on "Cited by" when the item appears. 

 

America: History and Life

The premier database for coverage of North America (U.S. and Canada), prehistory to the present.  Latin American and World history is covered in Historical Abstracts. 

 

Historical Abstracts

The premier database for world history ,1450-present.  Excludes the U.S.  and Canada, both of which are treated in a companion database, America History and Life.

 

 Worldwide Political Science Abstracts 

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 Index (Public Affairs Information System)

Covers issues in the public debate through selective coverage of a wide variety of international sources including journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference papers, web content, and more.


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.

HSGL icon red white blue of flag on blue backgroundHomeland Security Digital Library 

HSDL is the nation’s premier collection of documents related to homeland security policy, strategy, and organizational management. The HSDL is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA and the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

HEIN Online (law)

 

Sociological Abstracts

A core resource for 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.

A more encompassing search --across other social sciences areas like Education, Criminology, and Anthropology can be done in Social Science Premium Collection 

 

Additional Leads, by Student

 

Note to students:  Personalized suggestions should be considered additional resources to those listed above in this guide. 

Assume that if your topic is historically focused on the U.S., for example, you'll also have to use America History and Life; that if it has a political focus, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts will be essential; that if you're seeking materials of an IGO (UN) or an NGO, you'll use the links to custom search engines we've provided -- and so forth. 

ALEX

 

ANGELICA

 

BRAD

 

DEREK

 

HECTOR

 

JOE 

 

JOHN 

 

KAITLYN

 

KEVIN

 

LAWRENCE

 

MATT

 

TOKUNBO

 

TARISSA

 

UMARO

 

Other Library Subject Experts

 

AFRICA  (Tokunbo, Umaro)

  • Valerie Weis, Senior Reference Librarian, Harvard Kennedy School Library
  • Bassey Irele, Collection Development, Widener Library 

 

CANADA  (Brad)

 

BUSINESS/BUSINESS HISTORY  (Hector, John, Matt, Tarissa)

  • Emilie Codega, Curriculum and Learning Services, Baker Library, Harvard Business Schoool
  • Heather Oswald, Special Collections, Baker Library, Harvard Business School

 

ECONOMICS AND DATA

  • Diane Sredl, Data Reference Librarian, Services for Academic Programs, Harvard College Library 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, STUDIES, POLICY (Brad)

  • George. Clark,  Library Liaison to Environmental Studies and Public Policy

 

GOVERNMENT (Lawrence)

 

HISTORY  (Brad, Hector, Joe Kaitlyn, Matt)

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 

  • Daniel Becker, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Harvard Kennedy School Library 

 

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY  (Alex, Angelica, Umaro)

  • Valerie Weis, Senior Reference Librarian, Harvard Kennedy School Library

 

SPANISH LANGUAGE RESOURCES

 

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: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero.