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The Sociology subject guide gives you access to useful library databases and trusted Web resources, relevant for researching many topics in sociology.

Suggesting Books for Purchase

If you discover a book that is not available in the Library, and would be useful for your assignment, dissertation or research, ask the Library to purchase it. We rely on our students and staff to help build up diverse and relevant collections across the social sciences, so please put the details of the book on the book suggestion form - 

The majority of books are now available in ebook format and can usually be acquired quite quickly

Dictionaries & Encyclopaedias

Academic reference sources (dictionaries & encyclopaedias) are important places to start your research, especially if you are new to a topic. They summarise existing research, and are especially useful in helping define terminology and concepts, so help you to get a basic understanding of the subject or idea. Articles in encyclopaedias can also point you towards some of the key literature on a topic.

Online Reference Resources

The Library has online access to The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, a major resource, regularly updated with new content, and an excellent source of information for starting research on almost anything in Sociology:
The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (2007- continually updated)

Another very useful resource is Oxford Bibliographies Online, the Library subscribes to the Sociology & Criminology modules. They comprise short articles on a topic, with lists of key readings (the bibliography) included, making them very helpful for research on many topics.

A really useful resource for concepts in social theory is:

The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory (2017)

Less comprehensive, but still useful, online reference sources include:

Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology (2006)

Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (2011)

SAGE Dictionary of Sociology (2006)

For the social sciences more broadly, consult this excellent resource:

International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. 2nd ed. (Elsevier: 2015)

These encyclopedias may also be helpful:

Encyclopedia of Global Justice / edited by Deen Chatterjee (Springer: 2011)

The Social Science Encyclopedia, vol. 1 (A-K) and vol. 2 (L-Z) / edited by Adam & Jessica Kuper (Routledge: 2004)

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - highly regarded open access work, useful for social theory & regularly updated

Print Reference Resources

For Sociology, general dictionaries & enncyclopaedias are shelved at HM 17 on floor 4. They include The Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology (2007), but note that the online version referred to above is more comprehensive as it includes new & revised articles published on a continuing basis.



After looking at reference material you might want to learn about a topic in a bit more depth, and books are a good starting point, as they are usually more suitable than journal articles for establishing an understanding of a topic.

Academic books come in various flavours and include:
1. Introductory textbooks
These are often referred to on your reading lists and you can find a great selection in the Student Collection on Floor 1, as well as online

2. Short books
These have become popular in recent years, as they are cheaper & faster to publish, often deal with contemporary topics that are appealing to students, and are quicker to read! The Library has purchased all of the Oxford Very Short Introductions series, which cover all subject areas, but there are many other examples available in print or online.

3. Handbooks
These can be highly useful, as they summarise
 research across a broad subject area and its subfields. A very useful resource are the Oxford Handbooks in Sociology (also Criminology & Criminal Justice) that the Library has purchased access to. You can cross-search them for the topic you are interested in. Many others are available from publishers including Routledge, SAGE, Wiley, Springer Palgrave, etc.

4. Monographs and Edited Collections
Monographs are just scholarly books written by an academics, and are useful if you need to pursue a topic in more depth. Good examples of these can be found through the library search & browsing the shelves, and the library subscribes to the Oxford Scholarship Online collection of ebooks in Sociology & other subjects.
Edited collections have chapters written by different authors that relate to the title or theme of the book as a whole, and you might find that selected chapters from edited books are relevant to your topic.

The library search does include the contents (i.e. chapter details) of some books, but not all. Google Books or Amazon Book Search can be helpful in finding out the contents details of specific books. Browsing the library shelves is a really good way of finding relevant material, as books on similar topics are shelved together. Sociology books are mostly shelved on floor 4, with reading list books on floor 1 (Student Collection), but you may be interested in other subject areas too. A summary of the classification is given below.

Floor  Letters Numbers Subject
2 B   Philosophy
2 BF   Psychology
2-3 D-F   History (including some social history)
3 GN   Anthropology
3 H 61 Philosophy of social sciences
    62 Social research methods
    62.9.Q8 Qualitative research methods
3 HA 29-33 Quantitative methods. Statistics
3 HD 4801-8940 Labour. Employment. Work
4 HM 19-23 History of Sociology. Sociologists
    24-39 Philosophy & theory of Sociology
    51-73 General works. Sociology textbooks
    101-102 Cultural studies
    131 Social groups (general). Organisations
    206 Environmental sociology (see also GE)
    219 Sociology of religion (see also BL-BX)
    221-222 Technology. Internet. Cybersociology
    251-252 Social psychology
    263-265 Media. Mass communication. Popular culture
4 HN 29 Social surveys. Ethnography
    51-999 Social history by country
4 HQ 12-471 Sexuality
    503-1059 Family. Children. Youth. Marriage. Older people
    1067-2030 Men. Gender relations. Women. Feminism
4 HT 101-485 Urban & rural sociology
    601-1445 Classes. Slavery. Ethnicity. Race relations
4 HV 85-499 Social policy & services (by country)
    701-1493 Children & older people (welfare)
    3004-5840 Mental illness (see also RC). Poverty. Alcohol. Drugs
    6024-7220 Criminology
    7231-9920 Police. Prison. Criminal justice
4 JV 6000-9500 Migration
5 L   Education
  LB 2369-2395 Study skills. Academic writing. Projects. Theses
2 RA 418 Medical sociology