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SOC 2100: Modern Social Problems

Tips for Narrowing or Expanding Your Search

( alicja_sto 1199922 alicja_sto)

Ways to narrow your results:

  • limit to certain years only at beginning of search (e.g. last 10 years)
  • add another concept to your search using "and" (e.g. elderly and housing and well-being)
  • limit your results to scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles only
  • mark (tag) the most relevant articles in your search results and create a smaller list of titles

Ways to expand your results:

  • add synonyms using "or" (e.g. elderly or older adults)

Subject Specific Journal Article Databases and Newspaper Databases

Try the following databases for articles in sociology and related areas:

(There are many more article databases for specific disciplines, such as communication, education, psychology, etc. Choose one of our Library's Subject Guides for the recommended article databases in that field.)

LIBRARY SEARCH for Articles Across Many Disciplines At Once

Find books, articles, and more at WMU

LIBRARY SEARCH Advanced Search Option


Allows you to use multiple search boxes and filters for precise searching.

Primary VS Secondary Sources

Primary vs. Secondary

For some research projects you may be required to use primary sources. How can you identify these?

Primary Sources

A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects. Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications via email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups are also primary sources. In the natural and social sciences, primary sources are often empirical studies—research where an experiment was performed or a direct observation was made. The results of empirical studies are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research.

(source: Ithaca College Library