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About this Page

To get started you need to choose a topic and find a general overview of the topic. This page can help you do both! 


As you read Blackwell's and search our databases, begin to ask a question about your topic. For example, if your topic is White Collar Crime, you might ask "How does public opinion of white collar criminals compare with its opinion of those convicted of other non-violent crimes?"  Don't worry if your question isn't perfect at this point; my example isn't. You'll use your question to focus database searches, and you'll often tweak it as your learn more.

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a topic can be challenging, especially in you're new to Sociology. If you're having trouble finding a topic, Blackwell's Encyclopedia may be a good place to start your research. Blackwell's provides useful overviews from sociological perspective and entries include a bibliography (i.e., citations to related works such as articles and books).


Here are a few steps you can follow if you're having trouble choosing a topic:

  1. Browse the Table of Contents in Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Sociology.
  2. Read the entry for the topic that interests you. If after reading the entry, you are no longer interested in the topic, browse the table of contents for a new topic.
  3. Review the bibliography for books and articles that may be of interest.
  4. Search our article databases (see Find Articles), book collection (see Find Books) and other useful sources such as Google Scholar for information.
  5. If you're not sure whether there is enough published information on your topic, feel free to contact me.
  6. Your professor is the ultimate judge as to whether your research question is approrpiate for your paper. Be sure to check with your professor if you have any questions!