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Getting Started in Sociology Research: Welcome!

Strategies for Connecting with Sociological Resources in a Focused Way

Getting HELP

VISIT A REFERENCE DESK No appointment needed. All of the Princeton libraries have them. The usual hours for the Firestone reference desk are Monday-Friday 11am-5pm, Sunday 2pm-6pm.

CHAT September - May: Connect instantly with a librarian on Sundays from 6pm-11pm, Mon-Wed 1pm-11pm, Thur 1pm-9pm and Saturday 1pm-5pm.

SMS/Text This service is available the same hours as the CHAT service above.  Text 246246 and start your message with libchatpul

E-MAIL Get a response from a librarian within 24 hours, year round  - often more quickly.

Guide to Research

An excellent overall guide to academic library research is found in Library Research: what every student needs to know / Mary W. George. 2008, Princeton University Press.  It gives more background about the library research process and how to adapt it to a variety of complex research projects, and can be found in both electronic and paper formats through the Library's Catalogs.

About this Research Guide


                in the Princeton University Library 

Sociology examines the everyday world, and the extraordinary world, and finds evidence for causation and relationships in what people do, and what happens to them, because they have a particular identity, fall into a particular group, at a particular place, and at a particular time.  Sociology creates a rational and even scientific framework, and keeps that study from drifting off into gossip, or journalism, or op-ed opining.   A more elegant description is found in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences:

Sociology, commonly defined as the scientific study of social relations, social institutions, and societies, is characterized by a great diversity of ways of conceiving its objectives, uses, styles, and methods. One type of sociologist sees it as having a mainly informative function: producing data and analyses oriented toward decision makers. Another type sees its function rather as critical: identifying the defects of societies. A third type sees sociology as having the main objective of explaining social phenomena. The three orientations characterize contemporary as well as classical sociology. Also sociologists endorse a variety of methodological and theoretical orientations…
Boudon, R.   “Sociology:  Overview”, in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, pp. 14581-14585.  1st ed. Amsterdam:  Elsevier, 2001.  Viewed online June 2011.

The library at Princeton provides a wealth of theory, analysis, case studies, and data archives for sociological research.  Basic tools are identified in this Guide, and an exhaustive guide to sociological resources at Princeton - and beyond - is available on the DETAILED tab.  Individual consultation is also available with any of the subject specialists on the Library staff. 

Our goal is to help you focus your research to get the most useful materials and tools to do your work in a way that is efficient, saving as much time as is practical. Please let us know how we can be of assistance in your research.

Susan White, Sociology Librarian   <>
Arthur Miller, Research Services Librarian  <>
Ashley Faulkner, Quantitative Research Librarian  <>


Subject Guide

Susan White's picture
Susan White
Susan Bennett White
Firestone Library

First Steps

Princeton University Library is a treasure house of resources for research in all aspects of Sociology.  In this guide we identify a core group, and suggest several useful ways to delve into them.  If you need items we don't have, reqquest them through Princeton's Interlibrary Loan service.  If you want Princeton to acquire materials for our collections, including films or other videos, send an email to the Sociology Librarian who welcomes suggestions for acquisitions.