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Sociology and Anthropology graduate students Library research guide

This guide is an introduction to some of the tools and resources useful for graduate students in Sociology and Anthropology. See also guides, Services for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and Research methods for Anthropology and Sociology.

Contact info

For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Sociology / Anthropology by email () or Ask a librarian.

    Databases for journal articles

    Databases for Anthropology and Sociology

    If the full text of an article is not within a database, then use the Get This button to check to see if SFU Library has a copy.  If SFU Library does not own the journal then request a copy of the article through SFU Library's Inter-Library Loans Service.

    How to find journal articles [guide]

    Citation Finder Tool to locate journal articles, books, etc. when you have a specific citation but don't know where to find the item.

    More databases:  Anthropology, Sociology databasesPrimary Documents databases

    Other relevant databases

    In addition to journal article databases, it is useful to use the bibliographies of recent theses.

    Literature reviews and current awareness

    • Annual reviews  Literature reviews and topic overviews in the sciences and social sciences. An excellent starting point for learning about a topic and for finding key articles on trending research.

    • Oxford Bibliographies Online  Lists key books, articles, and other sources on a wide variety of subjects via annotated and curated bibliographies. An excellent starting point for locating important literature and scholarly sources on a topic. Focuses on the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

    • ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index  Dissertations and theses from around the world. Historic and ongoing coverage.  Current theses on your topic can provide you with both research methods and useful bibliographies.

    • Journal: Sociological methods and research

    Current awareness

    Many academic journals and websites offer search alerts as a convenience to their audiences.   Sign up for an account or register with your favourite ejournal or article database to receive search alerts and/or table of contents by email. 

    Guides: Current awareness resources

                    Search alerts, web feeds, and RSS


    • BrowZine - brings scholarly, academic journal content together from multiple publishers and platforms into a single place, where you can save your favorite journals, view the tables of contents, and read or save articles, as new issues are released.   Use the BrowZine App to set up table of contents alerts for your favorite journals.  Use BrowZine Web to browse recent issues of journals by subject.
    • Citation Management software:Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, other
    • NVIVO -software to assist with organizing your research (quantitative & qualitative)

    Guide: Current Awareness Resources

    Grey literature

    Grey literature is information produced outside of traditional publishing and distribution channels, and can include reports, working papers, newsletters, government documents, speeches, white papers, urban plans, and so on.   For more, try the guides: Grey literatureGovernment resources, and internet sources for government information for Other Countries.

    • Canadian Research Index - to find Canadian government publications
    • Canadian Electronic Library from desLibris
      • Contains the full text of public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups.
    • IGO Search
      International governmental organizations (IGOs) are organizations made up of more than one national government—examples include NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the WHO (World Heath Organization). The governments are the members. IGO Search is a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) that searches across IGO websites. It is a project of the International Documents Taskforce (IDTF) of the American Library Association (ALA). For more information on this project, including a growing list of IGOs included in the search, please see the IDTF wiki.

    Journal rankings

    Scholars frequently wish to publish in scholarly journals that are important in their fields.  The resources below rank journals for various disciplines.

    For ideas on publishing in Open Access journals, try:

    • Directory of Open Access Journals open access  An index to high quality, peer reviewed open access research journals, periodicals and their articles' metadata.  Each journal must exercise peer-review with an editor and an editorial board or editorial review (particularly in the Humanities) carried out by at least two editors and/or report primary results of research or overviews of research results to a scholarly community.

    Catalogue search for books and more

    Books can provide a more in-depth look at topics. 

    Search SFU Library Catalogue

    As a part of your literature review process, use the SFU Library Catalogue for books, articles and more.  Using the "expand" box will provide results from other libraries that also use the same Integrated Library System (ILS) as SFU Library.  For search tips, try: SFU Library catalogue search guide.

    Image below shows how you can search using SFU Library Catalogue and then select the box to "expand results beyond SFU Library collection.  However this expanded search is limited to libraries which use ExLibris, the same Integrated Library System (ILS) as the one used by SFU Library. 

    Search other library catalogues

    Searching the catalogues below will provide you with resources from other academic and public libraries.

    Books on research methods

    Guide:  "Information on research methods for Anthropology and Sociology"

      Finding theses on your topic and submitting your own

      Find SFU theses

      Finding SFU theses and projects

      Summit Institutional Repository

      Search syntax: Theses Department of Sociology Anthropology

      Watch for name of department in the right-hand column of search results

      Find non-SFU theses

      Finding theses and projects from other (non-SFU) universities

      • Proquest Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index - Database of more than 2 million citations, dating back to 1861, to dissertations accepted for doctoral degrees. Abstracts are available for all records since 1980.
      • Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD) open access  Open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world from colleges, universities, and research institutions.

      • EBSCO Open Dissertations open access  A open-access index to historic and contemporary dissertations and theses primarily in the United States but also from select institutions from around the world. Some citations include links to the full text when available.

      • Theses Canada Free access to the full text of Canadian theses and dissertations that were published from 1998 to August 31, 2002. Citations since 1965.

      SFU guidelines for submitting thesis


      Open Access and publishing

      Citation searching

      "Citation searching" is a technique to find scholarly clusters for a research topic.  Take the citation for a key book or journal article and try to see who might have used that citation in their bibliography.

      Web of Science  

      • Topic alerts - set up alerts in any category or sub-specialty and receive regular updates of the latest research.
      • Citation Alerting -keep track of particular citations, to see if anyone is citing it in recent journals.
      • You can set up a citation alert whenever you’re reading a full-text article by clicking on "Save as Citation Alert."
      • Web of Science - How to do a Cited Reference Search tutorial [4 min 16 seconds]

      Google Scholar

      • For Cited Reference Search.  Look at the link "cited by".
        • search for your "key" article.  Check the link "cited by" right beneath the reference to that article
      • "Citation alerts"
        • TIP: to avoid an overload of irrelevant stuff, set up an alert on the page where you list out "cited references"
          • captures a "wider" range of journals and also includes "book chapters" etc.
      • SFU Authorized users can obtain full text links to SFU Library resources, by going to Google Scholar Settings and clicking on Library links. Then type and select Simon Fraser University - Get@SFU and Save.
        OR use the Off Campus and Wireless Access Bookmarklet to gain access to the full text licensed by SFU Library.

      Google Search tips

      Search results limited to words in the title of document, using "intitle:".  Use capital "OR" for synonynms. Put braces "()" around words that mean the same thing. 

      intitle:Madagascar intitle:(feminist OR feminism)


      intitle:Madagascar intitle:Christianity


      Search for documents from a particular country's domain.  The example below is for India, with country code of ".in"
        Web country codes

      Inter-Library Loans (ILL) Service

      To find out if SFU Library owns a particular book or if it subscribes to a specific journal:

      SFU Library has reciprocal borrowing agreements that allow SFU users to borrow materials in person at select post-secondary libraries in BC and across Canada.  See the below agreements for more information:


      Research Commons assistance for graduate students

      Research Commons  provides support for academic writing and learning at the graduate level


      Printing and Scanning

      PaperCut Login for SFU

      Selected library guides