Temur Kadirov
January 2017.
1231

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

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(1) LIBRARY OF CONGRESS AND THE BOOK BY THOMAS MANN ABOUT LIBRARY RESEARCH

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.

(2) OXFORD BIBLIOGRAPHY DISCIPLINE'S PAGE

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.

(3) KNOWLEDGE BASES

(4) ARTICLES

  • 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

(5) BOOKS

(6) GRAY LITERATURE

Grey literature is a term used to refer to dissertations, theses, and working papers (also known as preprints). There are several repositories and search engines which allow one to find relevant sources:

(7) SYLLABI

  • 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.

(8) LISTSERVS

You can also ask a question about literature on relevant listservs. Sociological listservs can be found here:

Email lists by international and national sociological associations and their research committees and thematic groups are particularly useful:

(9) WEBSITES

There are websites which telegraph and create agenda in sociology. I would list the following websites:

I would also check the following book review and — wider — intellectual magazines:

(10) SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Sociologists are incredibly active on Twitter, find your colleagues and ask them questions there.
  • But there are also some other social spaces where information about literature is available in a more systematic way:
  • Software that facilitate finding citations:

(11) FOLLOWING SCHOLARS AND KEEPING AN EYE ON NEW PUBLICATIONS

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Thank you so much. The info in the answer proved to be exceptionally handy and useful.

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