How to do research in Sociology

Library resources for researchers working on sociology, social movements, demography, and social psychology


Topic-specific keywords will help improve your results in a general multidisciplinary database like Google, Google Scholar, and HOLLIS

Add keywords like these to your search:

  • Topic terms - migration, income inequality, social movements, "race and ethnicity"
  • Geographic terms - “United States”, “Sub-Saharan Africa”,  rural, urban
  • Groups or Institutions - families, colleges, consumers, activists
  • Methods terms - interviews, ethnography, surveys


The best tool for your project may be a specialized search engine, also known as a database. These databases are subject-specific or format-specific search tools:

Sociology Database (via HarvardKey) - covers the international literature in sociology.

Web of Science (via HarvardKey) - a broad multidisciplinary database that includes Social Science Citation Index, which covers the international literature in the social sciences. It also enables researchers to discover what articles have cited an author or article.

Dig Deeper

Sociology: A Guide to Research Resources offers further database recommendations for Sociology research including resources for finding data. 

Databases for Sociology - explore the full list of Harvard Library databases in this subject category.


Kathleen Sheehan, the library liaison to Sociology, is available to support researchers via email or in-person consultation.

Featured Collection

Harvard’s Schlesinger Library is considered the leading center for scholarship on the history of women in the United States, with collections that span civil rights and feminism, health and sexuality, work and family life, education and the professions, and culinary history and etiquette. The Library’s incredible primary source collections are matched by the incredible expertise of its curators.  


How to do research in Education

How to do research in Women, Gender, and Sexuality

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Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.

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