This tutorial gives tips on searching in Sociological Abstracts. It covers:
  • What’s in Sociological Abstracts
  • Search tips
  • Useful filters
  • How to find the full text of articles
  • Adding other databases to your search 

Use the arrows below to move through the tutorial.

What is Sociological Abstracts?

Sociological Abstracts Logo

Sociological Abstracts is a specialized library database that is the top resource for scholarly articles in sociology, and social work. Here you’ll find academic journal articles (including peer-reviewed articles) as well as descriptions of books, book chapters, conference papers, and dissertations.


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When you start a search, you might begin with a specific question in mind, or your ideas could evolve into questions as you search.

Let's start with  the topic: Does the media play a significant role in reproducing or normalizing stereotypes or expectations that hamper women politicians in their struggle to achieve equality?

Before adding this topic to the search boxes, let’s locate the most useful keywords in this topic.

If you had to focus on only two keywords or phrases from the question, which ones would you pick to find the most relevant results?


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Based on the correct answer, let's fill in the search boxes to include: Media AND Women Politicians.

SocAbstracts Search

What is the Results total for Media AND Women Politicians?


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170 results is still too many results for us to sift through. Let’s look at ways to narrow our results in the box on the left side of our results page.

In many cases your instructors will ask you to only use recent scholarly or peer-reviewed research, so, let’s limit our search to peer-reviewed academic journal articles since 2007 by using the enter custom date range filter.

Source Types

This narrows our results down to less than 100 which is a great place to settle with an initial search in a research database. You have enough results that you can skim a few pages to get a sense of subtopics in your topic, without feeling so overwhelmed you don’t make it past the first result.


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Now we need to scroll through the results to find articles that articles that look interesting.

Let’s take a look at “Fashionable (dis-)order in politics: Gender, power and the dilemma of the suit” (approximately #12 in the results)

To view this article, click on the title and locate the parts of the Bibliographic Record listed below:

  • Citation Info - The citation components are listed at the top of the record. These include: Title, Author(s), and complete source information. 
  • Subject - These words or phrases are added to each source. The terms describe the contents of a source and help make it searchable in the database. 
  • Abstract - This is a summary of the source. Often abstracts include the research methods employed in the study.

Which part of the bibliographic record may help you change your search?

Getting the Article

Now the fun part! You've found something great and want to dive into it.

wait, even if you click on the title of the article, what you are viewing isn't the whole article… Below the title, you will see an ArticleLinker icon.

 Article Linker

ArticleLinker is a guide that will help you find the full article if it's not in this article database. Follow the steps to get to your article.

Find more details about using ArticleLinker.

Useful Tools

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Sociological Abstracts has some other useful tools, including the option to get you started with citing the articles you’ve found.


On the upper right side of the record page, click on the Cite button and then select APA style. You can copy and paste this into your bibliography.

Caution: Make sure you look over the citation with a citation guide to make sure there aren't any mistakes. Sometimes capitalization of the article title can be wrong in APA.

Useful Tools

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Look at the other options on the right side of the page next to Cite (on the right side of the article record).

What other great things does Sociological Abstracts allow you to do with an article?


Searching Beyond Sociological Abstracts

Finally, if you have a topic that fits into multiple disciplines – like sociology and education, or psychology and behavioral sciences – you can add databases to your search to expand the pool of articles you’re searching in.

Change databases

To add databases, click on Change Databases at the top of the page.

Recommended additional databases for Sociology & Social Work include:

  • ERIC 

Articles and more having to do with education topics. 


Articles and more on psychology and behavioral sciences topics.

Once you’ve finished exploring the list of additional databases, click the Use Selected Databases button at the bottom of the screen.

The End!

Congratulations! You have now completed the tutorial.

Want more ideas? Need some help?

  • The library has a collection of quick how to guides to help you with your research. 
  • You can always email or call the Sociology, Social Work, Anthropology librarian for help:

Go to the next page if you need to e-mail a completion certificate to your instructor, but remember to only enter in one e-mail address at a time. Happy researching!


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You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.


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