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SOC 480: Senior Capstone in Sociological Scholarship (Fraser)

SOC 480: Literature Review

SOC 480: Final Literature Review (Fraser)

Your final paper for Professor Fraser's class requires you to analyze a social issue and find which country, state, or organization is doing the most effective work at solving the problem. You will locate scholarly sociological academic literature as well as utilize government/organizational websites.

Professor Fraser's assignment should be structured as follows:

I. Introduction 
The topic is introduced and provides an overview of why this is an important social issue worth studying. Include some data to help highlight its relevance. Identify and introduce who/what/where is reducing or solving this issue best. Thesis statement gives clear focus of paper.

II. Literature Review
Demonstrate your ability to locate, identify, and write about scholarship related to your social issue. Scholarly sources should all be fairly recent (2010 - present). 

III. Solution
What country/state/organization is working on solving/reducing this social issue better than anyone else that you found? Scholarly sources as well as government and organizational websites should be used to support your solution. 
IV. Conclusion 
Make succinct and precise conclusions based on the review and solutions. Show clearly how implementing this program or policy will help reduce the social issue in the US. Tie everything together neatly by making sure insights into the problem/solutions are appropriate.

V. References   
Use the American Sociological Association (ASA) or American Psychological Association citation styles (APA). Must be in correct format, both in-text and reference page. Any sources cited in-text MUST be included in reference page and any sources included in reference page MUST be cited in-text.

Please refer to Professor Fraser's complete prompt (with detailed instructions) in Cougar Courses.

SOC 480: Identifying Empirical Articles

SOC 480: How to identify a scholarly article

To find empirical articles in Sociological Abstracts:

  • Use the "Advanced Search" mode to enter your keywords and include terms from the Sociological Abstracts thesaurus such as:
    • Case Studies
    • Empirical Methods
    • Ethnography
    • Experiments
    • Fieldwork
    • Grounded Theory
    • Interviews
    • Observation
    • Qualitative Methods
    • Quantitative Methods
    • Research
    • Surveys
    • Click "Search"

    • On the left side of the results screen, under "Source Type," you may limit to "Scholarly Journals."

    To find find empirical articles in PsycINFO:

    • Type your keywords into the search boxes
    • Scroll down the page to "Methodology," (in the right column) and select "Empirical Study"
    • Click on the "Search" button
    • On the "Results" page, you can filter by Publication Date and other limiters.

    TUTORIAL: How do I find an empirical article in PsycINFO?

    To find empirical articles in ERIC:

    • Use the "Advanced Search" mode to enter your keywords
    • Scroll down the page to "Document Type," and choose "143 Reports: Research"
    • Select other limits, such as publication date, if needed
    • Click "Search"
    • On the left side of the results screen, under "Source Type," you may limit to "Scholarly Journals."

    If you're still not generating results, add terms from the ERIC thesaurus to your keyword search. These include:

    • Action Research
    • Case Studies
    • Ethnography
    • Evaluation Methods
    • Evaluation Research
    • Experiments
    • Focus Groups
    • Field Studies
    • Interviews
    • Mail Surveys
    • Mixed Methods Research
    • Naturalistic Observation
    • Online Surveys
    • Participant Observation
    • Participatory Research
    • Qualitative Research
    • Questionnaires
    • Research
    • Statistical Analysis
    • Statistical Studies
    • Telephone Surveys



    SOC 480: Using JSTOR and Google Scholar CSUSM

    SOC 480: JSTOR and Google

    Research articles in JSTOR:

    JSTOR is a multidisciplinary database providing access to a wide breadth of scholarship including books, journals, and primary sources. For those of you searching for critical theories related to your angle of advocacy, I recommend giving this database a try. Its search functions are slightly different from the other databases we've covered, so here are some strategies to try:

    • Select Advanced Search (under the Basic Search box)

    • Further refine by searching against your initial set of results.

    • You may limit to journal articles by checking the "Journals" box; the vast majority of resources in JSTOR are peer-reviewed, including books. However, if you are unsure, check the source of your article (Journal name) and the publisher by doing a simple Google search. If you're still unsure, reach out to a librarian or your professor.

    Research articles in Google Scholar CSUSM:

    • Please remember to use the Library's access point to Google Scholar CSUSM (linked in the heading of this section) to get to full-text articles and other research

    SOC 480: How do I structure my keyword searches in the databases?

    SOC 480: Boolean Searching

    Boolean Searching in the Databases


    Image credit: Information Resource Center Blog


    Tips on searching the databases

    Here are some general tips on searching for articles for your report:

    Tip Examples
    Use keywords, not long search phrases

    Instead of searching for "How does the #MeToo movement account for intersectionality and marginalized identities?"break down your search into the main keywords:

    me too movement, intersectionality, marginalized, identity

    Use quotation marks (" ") to keep phrases together

    Use AND to combine different keywords

    "me too movement" "sexual violence"
    Use OR to combine similar/associated keywords intersectionality OR critical race theory
    Look for ways to limit your search in the database You can often limit by type of article (scholarly and peer-reviewed), year of publicationsubject 


    Library Databases for Sociology

    Sociology Databases

    Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
    Sociological Abstracts

    Provides access to the latest international findings in theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and political science.

    Report Problems
    Links to full-text via Get-It 1963 to current All
    Social Services Abstracts

    Abstracts of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development.

    Report Problems
    Links to full-text via Get-It 1980 to current All

    Contains (EXCEPT for the latest five years) core scholarly journals in sociology, history, economics, political science, mathematics, African-American & Asian studies, literature, humanities, music, and biological, health & general sciences.

    Report Problems
    Full-text 1838 to most recent five years Most

    A national database of education literature, including reports and journal articles.

    Report Problems
    ALERT! Within ERIC search results: IF the "Link to ERIC full text" does not work, try the "Get It!" link.
    Links to full-text via Get-It 1966 to current Some
    Social Work Abstracts

    This database provides access to social work and human services journals from 1965 to the present. Topics include addictions, therapy, child and family welfare, civil and legal rights, mental health, education, and human services.

    Report Problems
    Links to full-text via Get-It 1965 to current Most
    Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
    Academic Search Premier

    This scholarly collection offers information in nearly every area of academic study including: computer sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, ethnic studies, and many more.

    Report Problems
    Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1975 to current Most
    Google Scholar CSUSM

    Link to citations and full-text from your CSUSM Library databases and beyond!

    Report Problems
    Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It current to current All
    Dissertations and Theses Database: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection

    Dissertations and Theses Database includes digitized dissertations in a variety of subject areas including Art, Communications, Education, History, Linguistics, Literature, and Social Sciences.

    Report Problems
    Some full-text 1979 to current All
    WestlawNext Campus Research

    This is a comprehensive database for news, business, and law-related information has been designed for students. It brings together news databases arranged geographically and topically; newswires as well as business, trade, and professional journals and publications; and law-related resources, including both primary law and analysis.

    Report Problems
    Full-text 1789 to current Some
    Oxford University Press Journals

    Provides access to the full text of approximately 168 scholarly journals in a variety of disciplines including life sciences, medicine, physical sciences, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and law.

    Report Problems
    Full-text 1996 to current All
    Sage Journals Online

    Sage Journals Online includes over 460 journals in Business, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science, Technology and Medicine.

    Report Problems
    Full-text current to current All
    Women's Studies International

    Includes over 204,000 records drawn from a variety of essential women's studies databases.

    Report Problems
    Links to full-text via Get-It 1972 to current Most
    Project Muse

    Full-text coverage for hundreds of scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics

    Report Problems
    Full-text 1993 to current All

    SOC 480: Finding Government Information

    SOC 480: Finding government data and statistics

    Government Data and Statistics​​​​​​

    Google Search Strategy for Domestic Government Information

    In the Google Search Box, you may enter your keywords followed by: site:.domaintype (ex. united states children nutrition

    Carefully evaluate your results page; you'll notice that different types of statistics and data are maintained by different departments and agencies. 


    To search for international government data and statistics, please visit: Domain suffixes for countries


    SOC 480: Using ASA and APA to cite your sources

    ASA (General)

    What is ASA style?

    ASA stands for the American Sociological Association. It is the citation style used by many sociologists, and it is the style used in all ASA journals.


    Official ASA Style Guide


    This is the official ASA manual published by the American Sociological Society. The CSUSM Library currently offers copies of the 5th edition.


    Helpful Online Guides

    Sample Papers in ASA Style

    There are currently no sample papers available in ASA style. The following links offer guidance on how to format an ASA-style paper.

    APA (General)

    What is APA style?

    APA stands for the American Psychological Association. It is the citation style used in most of the social sciences as well as some of the natural sciences.

    Official APA Style Manual at CSUSM Library

    This is the official APA manual published by the American Psychological Association. It is the most recent and up-to-date edition available, currently the 6th edition.

    • Library copies (BF76.7 P83 2010) 
      The CSUSM Library owns several copies of the official APA manual that you can consult in person. Click on the link above to see where they are located.
    • The official APA website 
      Need access to the official APA guidelines right now but can't get to a copy of the book? Try out their website. It has helpful FAQs and basic guidelines.

    Helpful Online Guides

    What is a DOI? 

    APA style requires that you include a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) whenever you cite the online version of an article.  A DOI is a special number that identifies each unique article in a database.  Please note- some articles may not have a DOI.  

    To find the DOI, Ask a Librarian or check out the follwing tools:

    Using APA for Special Cases 

    More FAQs at the official APA website...

    Sample Paper in APA Style

    Need Help?

    Lalitha Nataraj

    Social Sciences Librarian
    Lalitha Nataraj
    Office Location: 
    Office Hours: 
    By appointment

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