SA 250: Introduction to Sociological Theory

Research help

This guide will provide assistance with finding scholarly material to support the research paper assignment.  For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Sociology / Anthropology by email or Ask a librarian.

Services for Distance Education students

Consult the guide Services for Distance Education students if you are off campus.


Start Your Research Here - This page gives you an overview of the research process, or in other words how to find materials for your essay.

Steps in the process

  1. Determine a general topic.
  2. Look for background information (encyclopedias, handbooks, introductory texts).
  3. Based on your preliminary research, formulate a research question that you intend to address through more comprehensive research. You will ultimately address this research question in your thesis.
  4. Brainstorm keywords for each concept in your topic
  5. Determine the appropriate search tools to find resources:
  6. Note key authors and works that have informed your research for your references
  7. Evaluate your resources.

Selected encyclopedias

For an overview of a topic or to identify key authors, books, journal articles, debates or theories, start with the encyclopedias listed below.

Find books in the Library

Catalogue search will find books, journal articles, videos, government reports and more.  After doing a search, you can limit your search results by "Resource type" of "Books."  

Library Catalogue search guide

Search the SFU Library Catalogue

Catalogue search (Advanced Search) by author

This search provides a list of books, book chapters and journal articles by the author, so limit the search by using "Resource type" of "Books"

               Any Field: Author    Contains: Marx, Karl    Resource type: Books

Browse search by author

This search provides a list of books by the author

Choose: Catalogue Search / Choose: Catalogue / Choose: Browse tab (at top)
     Change: "Browse by" from "Title" to "Author"   Enter: Last name, First  name Marx, Karl

Browse search for books "about" a particular author, that is, "author" as "subject"

Choose: Browse tab, change "title" to "subject"

Browse for the person's name as "subject":  Marx, Karl

Search for books on a topic

Search the SFU Library Catalogue

 Use SFU Library Catalogue search / Advanced keyword

Combine different concepts using AND
Combine same concepts using OR
Use quotation marks to search for a phrase
Use brackets for synonyms
Use asterisk (*) for different endings of words

Note:  For Catalogue Search, when combining concepts, use CAPITAL letters ( "OR", "AND")

Selected subject headings

Choose: Browse tab, change "title" to "subject"

Find Journal Articles

For journal articles, it is useful to search for databases for the discipline for which your are writing your essay.

How to find journal articles tutorial. 

What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal?

If the full-text of the article is not available within the database then use the "Get@SFU" link to find it or to initiate an inter-library loan request.


  • Social Theory  contains the full text of works of selected social theorists such as Max Weber, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and more.
    • Use "Browse" tab
      • Browse by "Authors" or  "Theories" or"Subject"
    • Search 
      • Advanced Search
        • Search in texts


If the full-text of an article is not within a database, then use the Get@SFU  button to check to see if SFU Library has a copy. 

If the Library does not own a particular journal or a book, then use "Inter-Library Loans" service to obtain a copy of a book or a journal article from another Library (free): Citation Finder / ILL

Inter-Library Loans guide

Library guides

Writing help