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Sociology Research Guide: Is it sociological? Is it current? Is it peer-reviewed?

This guide will help you find resources for Sociology at TLU.

Is it sociological? Is it peer-reviewed?

If your assignment requires you to find articles that are peer-reviewed, current, empirical, published in sociology journals, or all of the above, this page will help you identify them.


You can find scholarly articles using the QuickSearch tool. QuickSearch searches a huge amount of content, not all of which is scholarly or sociological, so be sure to use the filters available

For advice on what filters to use, read on!


Choosing search terms: An example

  • Use two or more search boxes (Advanced Search)
  • Brainstorm alternate keywords
    • You can combine synonyms with OR. For example: "pay gap" OR "wage gap"
  • There is no exact way to limit your search to sociology journals, but you will find many of them is you put sociolog* in a box. Or try this "hack": put this string of terms into a box, using the SO Journal Title drop-down: 
    • sociology OR sociological OR "Social Forces" OR "Ethnic and Racial Studies" OR "City and Community" OR "Gender and Society" OR Socius

Suggested QuickSearch Filters

  • 1. UNCHECK the Full Text box 
    • This will allow you to see articles available through Interlibrary Loan.
  • 2. Limit by date
    • To find articles published recently.

‚ÄčRefine results    


  • 3.  Limit to peer-reviewed
    • You can find this under Advanced Search. Or when you are looking at a list of results, you can find it under Show More in the left sidebar. 

Peer reviewed

Evaluating results

Is it current? Is it peer-reviewed? 

Double-check to see whether the articles you find were published within the past 10 years.

If you used the peer-reviewed checkbox, all the journals you find should be peer-reviewed . You can always look at their websites to make sure.

Is it in a sociology journal?

Look at the journal title. If you are not sure whether this is a sociology journal, try searching for the journal's website.

Another thing to try: See whether the database record lists the author's academic department. If they are part of a Department of Sociology, perfect! If the database only gives their name, try looking them up on the web. 

Is it empirical?

You can usually tell whether a study is empirical by carefully reading the abstract. Did the authors base their conclusions on original, direct observation or experimentation? Did they collect data or do new analysis of existing data? If so, the study is empirical. An empirical study usually has a Methodology or Methods section.

Some types of article that are NOT empirical:

  • Literature review
  • Meta-analysis
  • Theoretical article

Is it relevant to your topic?

Don't just trust the title. Read the abstract to help you figure out whether this article is relevant to your topic.

Other databases

In addition to PsycINFO and QuickSearch, some other databases that contain sociology articles are: