What online and offline sources, besides Oxford Bibliographies Online, can a student use to find best bibliography on a topic of interest in sociology?

26 January
30 January


Library of Congress Electronic Catalogue. You will be surprised to learn how much LOC can offer. See this book for details: Mann, Thomas. 2015. The Oxford Guide to Library Research. 4 edition. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press. Check out chapters on LOC's subject headings especially.



  • The website Annual Reviews publishes very good reviews of literature for various branches of sociology.
  • I would also explore the website Web of Science (note: access the Web of Science database through your institutional point of access to electronic resources) and the database Scopus. Here, you can select the category "sociology journals," select journals marked in the category Q1 (which refers to journals ranked in the first quartile by citation index - the ones in "Q1" will be the most highly-ranked journals), then select whatever journals you find most relevant, and explore what they have published over the last two years.
  • Here is a trick you can perform on Google Scholar: find a highly relevant and most-cited article, then look at top-10 the most cited articles which cite the first article. These 11 articles and works they cite will probably be some of the most influential works for your field.
  • academic.research.microsoft.com


  • Fundamental literature for many topics can be found in various syllabi. Many universities publish their syllabi online. Some universities offer a "syllabi directory", and in this case one has just google this phrase + the name of the university. 
  • Other universities invent more obscure names for this kind of thing. For instance, the University of Cambridge website does not have a centralised syllabi directory but many faculties publish their materials on their pages and name them "reading lists", "handouts", and "course readings". The one way to get these materials is to understand where they are usually placed on the University's website. In the case of Cambridge, you will find this under the "Current students" section of a faculty's page. 
    • The other way to find these resources is to do a google search containing the phrase: "site:cam.ac.uk sociology AND syllabi OR reading lists OR handouts OR course readings". This search will give you various pages with course materials, including old ones that web administrators have forgotten to remove. If you add "file:pdf" to this phrase, you will get only PDF's, which is the most common format for course materials. 
    • I would perform the above operation with websites of top-10 universities listed in university rankings QS and Times Higher Education. I would look at general rankings, and also at rankings of faculties of the social sciences. I would also explore results of the www.ref.ac.uk for British universities (however, this does not always give you straighrforward results).
    • I would also add links to top-10 faculties of sociology from these rankings to my bookmarks and explore publications on my topic by faculty members of these faculties.
  • The Open Syllabus Project can show you the most-cited works from syllabi available on the public domain.
  • Finally, I would also analyse syllabi of MOOCs on sociology on iTunes U, Coursera, FutureLearn and MIT Open Courseware. You can find links on some courses in a list I have drawn up here.






  • You can follow publications of particular scholars by following them on these academic social media websites:
    academia.edu, researchgate.net, google scholar, http://orcid.org/, http://www.researcherid.com, https://philpapers.org/, https://www.growkudos.com, http://elibrary.ru, https://zenodo.org, https://paperhive.org/, https://hcommons.org/, http://scipeople.ru/, http://profology.com/welcomepage, https://www.mysciencework.com/, https://www.trelliscience.com/#/site-home, https://www.science-community.org/, linkedin, twitter, and even pinterest.
  • You can also check working papers on online university repositories (google "a university name + working paper repository") and on authors.repec.org and https://papers.ssrn.com/. If you do this you will know who and on what topic will publish an article in one or two years.
  • Additionally, there are ways to track new publications in your field: email alerts in google scholar, http://pubcrawler.gen.tcd.ie/, https://www.pubchase.com/, http://f1000.com/prime.
  • You can also use www.altmetric.com to trace articles the most cited on social media.
  • For more links, check out docs.google.com


There are several ways of searching for relevant sections in the Oxford Bibliography database. You can search within a particular discipline. You can search within the whole database, and I would highly recommend doing this because you can find some useful sections on your subject in a neighbouring discipline. But also it would make sense to look at the discipline's page where all the sections are put in groups of fields, and, what's more important, recently added sections are marked. Thus, if you monitor this page you can discover new sections which could be relevant. Additionally, check articles you need regularly because they are reviewed annually and new sources might be added.

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