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Recommended resources for getting started with sociology research


This guide presents a selection of resources to help you get started with your research in sociology. Use the menu on the left to navigate through the different sections of this guide. 

If you would like assistance locating resources, developing your topic, or have any other questions, please reach out by email or schedule a consultation


There are different areas within sociology that may shape your approach to research, such as which resources you use as evidence, your search strategy, and the development of your topic:

  •  social organization, social change, human ecology, population and demographics, applied sociology, sociological methods and research

with subfields, including, 

  • comparative sociology, computational sociology, cross-cultural studies, economic sociology, feminist sociology, sociology of art, political sociology, public sociology, theories of technology, sociology of the family, sociology of knowledge, sociology of language

Begin with Library Search to explore the resources available to you through Vassar. 


Using a combination of keywords and subject headings will likely bring you the most success when searching for relevant sources, particularly so when conducting interdisciplinary research. 

  • keywords - words that describe the main concepts of your research 
    • for exp. incarceration "health disparities"; belonging
  • subject headings - controlled vocabulary that describe a topic and subtopic in a standardized, consistent way
    • for exp. sociological aspects; society; educational sociology; political sociology, imprisonment 

Library of Congress (LC) subject heading classifications are most commonly used, however article databases, such a Sociological Abstracts, may use their own subject headings. Find subject headings by viewing the full details of the source, use the database's subject list/ thesaurus if available, or look to filter your search results by subject.