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Sociology 2950: Social Research: Articles

Finding the Full-Text of Journal Articles

If you’re looking at results in one of the databases, just click on the button next to the article citation. The article will display if it’s available electronically. If there is no online access, you’ll be give the opportunity to look for a print copy in the MERLIN Catalog.
If electronic coverage is not available, check the MERLIN Catalog to see if we have a print subscription to the journal.

MU Libraries does not subscribe to all journal titles. If you find a journal article that you need, but cannot find the article using Find it @ MU, logon to (our interlibrary loan service) and fill out a journal article request form (available on the Libraries Gateway page under “Quick Links.” You will need to register the first time you use ILL@MU. Usually you will receive the article electronically via e-mail within a few days of placing your request.

Research Tips

-Break your research question into essential key words and connect with AND, e.g., “Are neighborhood watch programs effective in reducing crime?” becomes neighborhood watch AND crime

-Brainstorm synonyms to use and connect with OR, e.g., “domestic violence” OR “spouse abuse” OR “interpersonal violence” Don’t get stuck on one term when there may be several ways to express it.

-Use “Advanced Search” -Put quotes around a phrase, e.g., “health care policy” “body image”

-If it’s an option, limit your search to “Academic Journals” or “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals

-Use wild card/ truncation symbol (*) to get plurals and variant endings, e.g., prison* AND gang*

-Limit your search to the abstract to increase the likelihood of relevancy.

-When you find a good article, always look at the references listed at the end. Often one good article can lead you to other similar articles, and help identify authors and classic works on your topic that you wouldn’t want to leave out.

-If you’re looking at the references and want to follow-up by finding an item that seems useful, first determine if it’s a book or an article. Go to the MU Libraries’ gateway page and from the “I need to . . .” box on the left, click on either Find a Specific Article or Find a Specific Book . Fill in the form with the information you have and click on finditatMU to see your options.

-For items that are neither books nor articles, for example, a research report from an organization or government agency, or a conference paper, Google Scholar or Google Books may be useful to locate the item.

Find Scholarly/Academic Articles from Sociology & other Disciplines’ Journals

From MU Libraries’ gateway page, click on “Databases

Sociological Abstracts the database that covers the field of sociology in-depth, indexing over 1,800 journals. This is where you will find scholarly research articles written by sociologists. Similar to the MERLIN catalog, you can start by searching by key words and then see what the subject (descriptor) is to find more on the topic. You can also search by author or by a specific journal title and other elements. Here’s an example of an article found by doing a key word search on, “feminist theory” and “body image”

Leavy, P., Gnong, A., & Ross, L. S. (2009). Femininity, masculinity, and body image issues among college-age women: An in-depth and written interview study of the mind-body dichotomy. The Qualitative Report, 14(2), 261-292. Retrieved from

Click on the link above to see a model of how the research is presented, including the introduction, literature review, research methodology section, data analysis, discussion of results and conclusion.

JSTOR is another good database choice since it covers most of the core journals in Sociology and other disciplines and contains the full-text for all. Keep in mind that it is a journal archive and does not have the latest issues of any journal. Use a database that is frequently updated such as Academic Search Complete or Sociological Abstracts or another called Scopus, to search for recent articles.

If your topic is from a related discipline, such as Psychology, Social Work, Education, Political Science, or Health, find the relevant databases by starting at the “Databases by Subject” page from the MU Libraries Databases listings.

Google Scholar is a sub-set of Google that provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Keep in mind that Google Scholar is a complement to rather than a substitute for library databases. If MU Libraries subscribe to or have access to the item online, you will be able to click the Find it @MU button to get the full text.