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This guide provides help finding sources for the Winter 2023 SOCI 315 Learning through Practice assignment #1.

Please refer to your assignment instructions for additional requirements and details.

Engaging with Research Literature

This assignment is asking you to think about how previous research can inform a potential sociological study relating to a world pandemic (i.e., COVID-19).

As the following video illustrates, reviewing existing literature on a topic is a critically important part of developing an academic research study:

You need two peer-reviewed articles to complete this assignment.

The following provides a quick refresher on peer-review of scholarly sources:

It can take years to get a research article published and some areas of research are explored more than others, so the articles you find might not be on the exact same topic that interests you. That's totally okay. Just make sure that the articles you use can help to frame your interest into a research question and new area of sociological investigation. 

Here's a video that helps to explain how to approach a research topic when looking for sources: 

Example: Let’s say that you are interested in exploring the public reaction to the “Freedom Convoy” protests in Canada in the winter of 2022. Since this is a relatively recent topic, there is unlikely to be scholarly, peer-reviewed information on the topic, so try searching for articles on related topics. For instance, look for articles that explore public reactions to other protests against Covid-19 restrictions, including those in other countries. Or try looking for articles on how people perceive protests and demonstrations more generally.

Finding Articles

Library Databases

Useful databases for finding articles for this class are noted below.

Tip: Since you need to identify a topic for a potential sociological study, try starting with the Library's main sociology databases: SocINDEX and Sociological Abstracts. 

For additional options, visit the Library's Find a Database list.

Database Search Tips

  • Use "Quotes" for phrases:
    • "social media" "content analysis" 
  • Use AND between words to find different concepts:
    • COVID-19 AND Twitter AND racism AND Canada
  • Use OR between words to find similar concepts/synonyms: "
    • social media" OR Facebook OR Twitter OR Instagram
  • Use the options to the left of search results to limit to scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals and by publication date (e.g., 2010-2021)

Watch the Library's tutorial "1.5 Search Language" to learn more about database searching. 

Additional Considerations

The two articles you use in your assignment should meet the following criteria:

  • Publication date: Published in the last ten years. You want to build on the latest, greatest findings in your area of interest. 
  • Peer-reviewed: Published in an academic journal that has other academics review research before it is published. Using Library databases (see above) is the easiest way to locate these works. 
  • Relevance: Use articles that explore your topic from a sociological perspective. For instance, an article reporting results of a qualitative study on the socioeconomic toll of COVID-19 on Canadian parents will be much more relevant than a study on recommended medical treatments. 
  • Original research: Articles should be reporting results from an original research study. The format of these articles will typically include an introduction, methods section, results, discussion, and a list of references. 
Helpful hint: Your assignment requires that you come up with a research question informed by what you find in the literature, and explain whether a qualitative or quantitative method would be most applicable to your study. As you explore the literature, pay close attention to the methods used in existing studies (e.g., interviews, surveys, content analysis) as you consider which approach might work best for your proposed area of investigation. 

Citing Using APA

Citations for the articles you use should follow this example:

In-text citation: (Thirsk et al., 2022, p. 1409).
Reference entry:

Thirsk, L. M., Stahlke, S., Perry, B., & Gordon, B. (2022). #Morethanavisitor: Experiences of COVID-19 visitor restrictions in Canadian long-term care facilities. Family Relations71(4), 1408-1427.


For more information and examples, visit the Library's APA Citation Guide.

Need Help?

  • Have a quick question about searching or citing?
  • Need more in-depth help searching for articles?
    • Email Nicolle to set up an appointment in person, by phone, or video conferencing with the Sociology subject librarian.
  • Have questions about assignment requirements?
    • Contact your instructor.
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