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Sociology Research

SO 101 - Introduction to Sociology

sticker says "use your privilege for good causes"

Photo credit: Ava W. Burton on Unsplash

In this course, you will choose an area of interest in which you and your group want to enact social change. For this assignment, you will need to locate information that helps your group's particular proposal for social change. This means not only being able to differentiate the types of information but, also, recognizing where to go to get the type you need. In addition, you'll need to go on to use that information in smart and ethical ways.

Because the study of Sociology is inherently interdisciplinary, you may have a tried and true research toolkit that you've fostered in your major courses. Feel free to rely on the skills you're mastering in those courses to inform your work for this project. If you have a database you already rely on, try it out! If you have a LibGuide from another librarian that you have found particularly helpful to you, use it. My job as the liaison librarian to sociology is not to remove tools from your toolkit, but instead to help you add more choices to your collection.

Remember that directions and deadlines for the Term Paper Assignment are described in Professor Herrmeyer's syllabus.

Steps to a successful final presentation

STEP #1: Explore general information first. 

  • See the REFERENCE SOURCES tab for help.
  • This will enable you to:
    • gather background about the topic: names, dates, spellings, important concepts & issues, etc.
    • develop ideas for how to narrow to subtopics for deeper consideration
    • build vocabulary and specific terms to use as keywords and descriptors
    • gain knowledge to move your investigation into more specific sources of information.

 STEP #2:  Examine the scholarly literature available on the topic you select. 

  • See the FIND ARTICLES tab for directions.
  • Make sure that you are clear about what constitutes "scholarly" so you can:
    • Identify the scholarly literature.
    • Examine what your sources say about the topic and related research or studies.
    • Compare and contrast the points of view.
    • Apply a theoretical perspective that helps you to understand your topic and find research to back this up.

STEP #3:  Examine local research on both the community and the topic you select.

  • See the LOCAL INFORMATION section.
  • Understand, these will not count as scholarly sources but will help you contextualize the topic to Waverly/Wartburg.

STEP #4:  Evaluate the sources you've found 

  • ​Questions to consider as you dig in:
    • Is this of interest to the public?  Why or why not?
    • Who does it affect, include, or exclude?
    • Can you locate history or other reasons on why this topic continues to make the news?
    • Can you distinguish between facts and opinion as you learn more?
    • What questions does the coverage address or not address that pertains to sociological perspective?

STEP #5: Give credit 

  • It's important to cite your references appropriately.  You can pick either APA or ASA style. 
  • See the CITING SOURCES tab for examples and further information.

Finding Organization Websites

Vogel Library, Wartburg College   |   100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 |   Phone: 319-352-8500   | Email: