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SOC 203 - American Social Problems: for Raymond Hall's students

An introduction to current social problems in America as well as sociological approaches to understanding and ameliorating these problems.

Library Resources for Sociology

APA Citation Style Guide

Data Sources - print format

Getting and Evaluating Articles

When you are searching in the Library's databases look first for a link to a PDF filePDF file.

If no PDF link is available look for the  button.
This button allows you to:

  1. See if the article is available online in ANY of the Library's databases, not just the one you are using.
  2. Search the Library's Discovery Interface to see if the article is available in the library (if it is not online).
  3. Automatically do an interlibrary loan request if the article is not available online or in the library.

What is Peer Review?

It is the quality control system for scholarship.  It means that articles in a peer-reviewed journal must be scrutinized by experts before they are published.  SYNONYMS = 'academic', 'juried', 'refereed', 'scholarly'.

How can you tell when something is peer-reviewed?

1) When you are looking at a print copy, of an entire issue of a journal, the editorial board of scholars with academic credentials and institutional affiliations will be listed somewhere.  These are the 'peers' that review each published article.

2) Use a check box limit in your database search (when available).

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a section of a scholarly article or book (usually toward the begining) which summarizes and evaluates previous scholarship.

The purpose of a literature review is to give an accurate and complete accounting of the current state of knowledge for whichever research question you are attempting to answer.  It is an essential feature of scholarship because without it the reader cannot judge how well-informed you are or how original your approach might be.

Most academic disciplines are included in our Annual Reviews online subscriptions.  Take a look at the Annual Reveiw of Sociology.  Looking at them can give you a sense of how it is done. 

What you end up writing will be probably be different in two ways.

1) You should have a much narrower focus.  These attempt to cover very broad topics.

2) You should delve back a number of years to learn everything you can about your topic.  These only try to account for what has happened over the last year.

Examples of General Topics

The American labor movement

The great depression


Social change in the 1920’s

The cold war

Mccarthy and the red scare

The civil rights movement

The war on poverty

Criminalization of drugs in the U.S.

A.I.M. American Indian Movement

The 1980’s-the reluctance of the U.S. government to combat A.I.D.S.

The women’s movement in the U.S.

The gay rights movement in the U.S.

The war on drugs and change in sentencing

The rise of the youth subculture

Hand guns in the U.S.

Violent crime in the U.S.

Homelessness in the U.S.

Alcoholism and drug addiction in the U.S.

Prison overcrowding in the U.S.

Domestic violence in the U.S.

Rape, date rape, marital rape

Education inequality

Sexual slavery

Sex discrimination

Mental illness in the U.S., deinstitutionalization…

This list is just a suggestion, should you choose to address another subject you may do so with approval from the instructor.