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Research Guide: Sociology & Anthropology

There are many types of background materials: encyclopedias (both general and subject specific), handbooks, and bibliographies. Why use a background source? It can save you time by helping you with the groundwork below

  • Get an overview of a new or complex topic
  • Find out the names of key players in a given area
  • Locate terms that you can use in your research
  • Help narrow (or expand) your topic
  • Locate a bibliography of sources to help you start your research.

To find scholarly articles in a library database:

Original Research Articles

Research articles, empirical, research primary research, are based on original research. If you need to limit your sources to research articles, you must be able to tell the difference. Most research articles will contain the following:


A summary of the article. (Note: Abstracts appear in reviews or secondary articles as well.)


Sometimes called "methodology" or "materials and methods," this section describes the author's research methods and tools: experiment, survey, data sources, etc.


Also called "findings," this is the section of the article in which raw data are presented.


Sometimes called "analysis," this is the section in which the author analyzes the data.


The author's conclusions based on the analysis.


List of references to works cited in the article.

These standard parts of a research article may not always be labeled, and sometimes they are combined (for example, "Data and Methods"). Still, every research article indicates what methods and tools were used to conduct the research, what the results were, and how the author interprets those results.

Collective Behavior & Social Movement

  • Social Movement Studies
  • Journal of Neuroscience Psychology

Culture and Social Structure

  • Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
  • Journal of Popular Culture
  • Societies
  • Journal of Consumer Culture
  • Social Analysis

Demography and Population

  • Demography
  • International Migration
  • Journal of Refugee Studies
  • Population Aging
  • Population and Environment
  • Population and Development Review

Family, Life Course and Society

  • Journal of Marriage and Family
  • Journal of Family Issues
  • Aging and Society

Gender and Sexuality

  • Gender and Society
  • Men and Masculinities
  • Sex Roles
  • Journal of Homosexuality
  • Women's Studies International

Medicine and Health

  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Family and Community Health
  • Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health
  • Society, Health and Vulnerabilities

Race and Ethnicity

  • Ethnic and Racial Studies
  • Race and Social Problems
  • Race and Class
  • Race and Justice
  • Journal of Race, Class, and Ethnicity

Sociology of Sports

  • SSJ: Sociology of Sports
  • Sociology of Sport Journal

Sociological Theory

  • Theory, Culture & Society
  • Theory and Society
  • Sociological Theory

Anthropology/General Interdisciplinary

  • Annual Review of Anthropology
  • Current Anthropology
  • Anthropocene
  • American Anthropologist
  • Anthropology Today
  • Journal of Anthropology

Anthropology Theory and Methods

  • American Ethnologist
  • Anthropologica Theory
  • Social Analysis
  • Critque of Anthropology
  • Collaborative Anthropologies


  • Journal of Archaeological Research
  • American Antiquity
  • Journal of Social Archaeology
  • American Journal of Archaeology
  • Asian Perspectives

Biological and Physical Archaeology

  • Human Nature
  • HOMO--Journal of Comparative Human Biology
  • Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues and News
  • Anthropologica Review
  • International Journal of Paleopathology

Migration and Diasporia

  • Journal of Ethnic and Migration
  • International Migration Review
  • African Disapora
  • Comparative Migration Studies
  • Journal of Migration and Intergration

Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Social Media & Society
  • The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean
  • Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
  • Ethos
  • Social Anthropology
  • The Journal of Popular Culture

Other Types of Articles

Not every article in a scholarly journal contains research or analysis. Scholarly journals may also include:

  • Literature reviews - often reviews original research
  • Book reviews
  • Meta-Analysis or systematic reviews - analysis of original research 
  • Editorials or commentaries
  • Letters
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Conference reports

These are not original or primary research articles.