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Sociology: Search Terms

This guide presents a general overview of library research for students enrolled in Sociology classes at Olympic College.

Search Term Selection and formatting

Search term tips:

Thinking about your topic and potential search terms is a critical step in the research process.  Sometimes authors (or databases!) use certain vocabulary when discussing a topic.  Other authors (or databases) might use a different term.  Try searching for synonyms for your search terms if at first you don't succeed! Also...

Books:
When searching for books, it's best to use only one or two words even if your topic is more complex.  For example, for inequality or racial conflict in China, just type and search for China.


Articles:
When searching for articles in databases (ProQuest or EbscoHost/Academic Search Premier) consider more complex combinations of search term. 

Here are some ideas:

1. Country names:

China
china
chinese
tibet
tibetan

India
india
hindu
hinduism
caste
dalits
jatis

South Africa
"south africa"
"south african"
apartheid
"post-apartheid"


AND


2. Terms for Social Stratification:

stratification
"social stratification"
stratified
race
racial
ethnic
ethnicity

"ethnic conflict"

inequality
disparity 
segregation
assimilation
assimilate
pluralism
pluralistic
discriminat*

AND


3. For an even narrower search add terms like:

education
health
wealth
wealthiest
rich
richest
poor
poorest
poverty