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Sociology Research


In this course, you will choose an area of interest in which you and your group want to enact social change. Use this page and the tabs above to help jump-start your research. 

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


Once you have found the perfect scholarly article or paper, you have to read it.  This can be a challenge.

Check out a blog entry by a scientist who is trying to help non-scientists understand how to develop this skill.

Steps to a Successful Final Presentation

STEP #1: Explore general information first. 

  • See the OVERVIEW 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 SCHOLARLY 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 column to the right of this box.
  • 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 or include?
    • 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 #4: 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: