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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.

Digitised Source Material

Aside from digitised newspapers and magazines (see section above), the Library has purchased a number of online primary source collections, including those listed here:

Oral History

Oral History sources have the potential to offer rich qualitative data for many types of sociological study, including life course studies, social change, family & personal relations, occupation, leisure, and so forth.

This guide from the UK Data Service is a helpful starting point. See also some of the links to sources on the Social History section of the Sociology subject guide, and on the History subject guide too. 

The archives at Essex contain some important oral history collections, notably the Paul Thompson material in the National Social Policy and Social Change (Qualidata) archive, and the Colchester Recalled Oral History Group digitised recordings. See the Library's Special Collections page for details 

Open Access Sources

An increasing amount of material is being made available open access. Some national & research libraries have taken a lead in this area.

Be aware that some resources appear to be open access, in that they are free to search, but viewing content requires payment.

See More Resources for further listings by subject

Microform Collections

Before digitisation, the Library acquired large amounts of primary source material on microfilm and microfiche, much of it of potential interest to sociologists.

You can search the Library catalogue by keyword (limit your search to Microforms) to see what we have, or browse a list of the main collections here:


The Library has quite extensive archival collections that have been assembled over the years. Some of them have relevance to sociology, and you can find out more about these on our Special Collections web pages.

The Special Collections guide also links you to information about collections elsewhere in the UK and overseas. National archives, national libraries, and portals such as Archives Hub (for the UK) are often good starting points for your research.


Government Publications

For details of UK government publications please see the Politics subject guide

For details of official publications from the UN and other international agencies see the Law subject guide and the Politics subject guide