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Sociology: Research Methods

General Research Information

The A-to-Z of Social Research: A Dictionary of Key Social Science Research Concepts

Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics

Encyclopedia of Research Design

Encyclopedia of Social Network Analysis and Mining.  Reference QA 76.9 .D 343 E 538 2014

Encyclopedia of Survey Research Methods 

Handbook of Research Methods for Studying Daily Life.

Key Concepts in Social ResearchReference H 62 .P 3234 2004.

Keywords in Qualitative Methods: A Vocabulary of Research ConceptsReference H 62 .B 5856 2008

The Oxford Handbook  of Multimethod and Mixed Methods Research Inquiry

Sage Dictionary of Qualitative Inquiry.  Reference H 61 .S 4435 2015

Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods

Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods

Statistical Abstract of the United States.   Latest print editions at Ready Reference. Older editions at General HA 202 .U 5 S 93.

General Call Number area: H 61 - H 62

The Data Game: Controversies in Social Science Statistics. General HA 29 .M 236 2013

Doing Excellent Social Research with Documents:  Practical Examples and Guidance for Qualitative Researchers

Evaluating Research : Methodology for People Who Need to Read Research. General Q 180.55 .E 9 D 355 2018

The Indispensable Guide to Undergraduate Research. General LB 2331 .C 453 2017

Interviewing in Social Science Research. General HM 526 .F 85 2018

Just Plain Data Analysis: Finding, Presenting, and Interpreting Social Science Data. General HA 29 .K 58 2012

Key Concepts in Social Research. Reference H 62 .P 3234 2004.

Keywords in Qualitative Methods: A Vocabulary of Research Concepts. Reference H 62 .B 5856 2008

A Practical Guide to Evaluation [of Agencies]. General HV 40 .B 874 2014

Program Evaluation Theory and Practice : A Comprehensive Guide.

The Research Journey: Introduction to Inquiry.

Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners. General H 62 .K 84 2014

Research Methods in the Social Sciences. General H 62 .R 454 2005

Research Resources for the Social Sciences

Selecting the Right Analyses for your Data : Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods.

The Sourcebook of Nonverbal Measures : Going Beyond Words. General P 99.5 .S 58 2004

A Tale of Two Cultures : Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences.

Understanding Racist Activism: Theory, Methods, and Research. General E 184 .A 1 B 5583 2018

Data Science

The APA Dictionary of Statistics and Research Methods. Reference BF 76.5 .A 7263 2014

Sage Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics

Sage Dictionary of Statistics and Methodology: A Nontechnical Guide for the Social Sciences.  Reference HA 17 .V 64 2016

Statistical Abstract of the United States.   Latest print editions at Ready Reference. Older editions at General HA 202 .U 5 S 93.

Other COD Library books about using statistics in the social and behavioral sciences

List of COD Library videos on Data Science or Quantitative Research

COD Statistics Databases

Historical Statistics of the United States

The Historical Statistics of the U.S. (HSUS) collects quantitative facts about the United States dating from the early history of our country to 1995. Data is gathered from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census. Table documentation and commentary are included to help you explain your data.
Export data sets: Yes (.csv, .txt, .sav)
Custom reports/tables: Yes
Charts/Graphs: Yes
Citations: Yes
How to search HSUS
How to download tables
Special Note: To create custom tables (combining data sets), you'll have to make a personal account on HSUS. Just make sure you are in the HSUS via the Library website, then create a free account. This account will allow to also store your custom tables.
Other COD Library databases for statistics

DATA REPOSITORIES U.S. Government Open Data Repository
Browse by topic or use the search feature to find data on your subject. Use the dataset catalog to search and refine your results. Most data sets on are downloadable in a variety of formats, including .csv, while others link to web sites or apps that help you access and/or use the data. Each data set includes information on the creator and publisher of the data. Many of the data sets include a description of the data, references to published articles that utilized the data set, and other important information to help you describe and document the data. Here's a quick tip on searching


Five Thirty Eight is an excellent site that publishes data-driven articles. Many of the data sets used in the reporting on this site are available on github. View the Five Thirty Eight datasets here:

Amazon makes large data sets available on its Amazon Web Services platform. The AWS public data sets are available for free for one year when you sign up with AWS. You can download the data to your computer or do analysis using cloud-based services like Amazon's instances of AC2 or Hadoop.

Google BigQuery Public Datasets allow for 1TB of data to be downloaded free. The collection of public data sets made available by Google are varied and eclectic, such as personal names registered via the Social Security Administration after 1879 (how many people share your name??) and the GDELT book corpus which contains data on all of the public domain books available on the Internet Archive and the Hathi Trust (like 4M books! Awesome!)

The City of Chicago data portal contains current and historical data collected by the City government. Included are data sets on doing business in Chicago, crime statistics, health data, environmental information, and much more.

Or just use Kaggle and go nuts. Kaggle is like social media for data nerds. Kaggle is a continuously growing collection of public data sets. It includes analysis and visualization tools, Kaggle Kernels, and you can publish your analyses of datasets on the site. Explore other users' Kernels for ideas, comment on their work, and learn data science and machine learning using the Kaggle resources. You can even enter data science competitions. Get your machine learning game on! Sign up for free. Look for attribution and rights on the site to give credit to the researchers/data compilers.

OPEN ICPSR, from the International Consortium for Political and Social Research at the  University of Michigan.  A collection of political and social data sets available for public use.

How to Cite Data Sets in APA Style

Typical format for website:

Researcher or Research Sponsor. (Date). Complete title of data set. [Data file (and/or corresponding materials)]. Retrieved from: URL.

For example:

Pew Hispanic Center. (2004). Changing channels and crisscrossing cultures: A survey of Latinos on the news media [Data file and code book]. Retrieved from http://


The in-text citation would be: Pew Hispanic Center (2004) or (Pew Hispanic Center, 2004).

Typical format for data set with DOI (Digital object identifier):

Researcher or Research Sponsor. (Date). Complete title of data set. [Data file (and/or corresponding materials)]. DOI of source.

For example:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (2013). Treatment episode data set -- discharges (TEDS-D)-concatenated, 2006 to 2009 [Data set]. doi:10.3886/ICPSR30122.v2

The in-text citation would be: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies (2013) or (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, 2013).


A real life example of citing a data set

This is a tough one. This data set found on Kaggle was derived from a published scholarly paper. The paper, "The Use of Multiple Measurements in Taxonomic Problems," was published in 1936 in the journal Annals of Eugenics by R.A. Fisher. The Center for Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems at UC Irvine recreated the data set in machine readable format and published the data set on Kaggle. So, we have the original paper with the data and we have this data set created by UCI. The paper is original work and the UCI data set is derivative work. Which one do we cite? [I did some background digging because I'm a librarian. I found that 1.) this article is in the public domain, and 2.) the publisher of the article made it freely available for scholarly use.]

If I was going to use this data set in an assignment, I would cite both the data set on Kaggle AND the article. I'm going to have to mention the original article in my assignment anyway because I need to explain what my data is about and define the variables. My text might look something like this: The Iris Species data set (UC Irvine, 2016) was derived from a paper published by Fisher (1936) which included data on three iris species with 50 samples each with some descriptive elements about each flower.
So, here are my citations:

Fisher, R. A. (1936). The use of multiple measurements in taxonomic problems." Annals of Eugenics. 7:179-188. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.1936.tb02137.x

University of California Irvine, Center for Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems. (2016). Iris species. [Data file].

It is also important to note that UCI published their work on Kaggle with a Creative Commons public domain license (CC0) so we are free to use this data set in just about any way we'd like.

Posters, Presentations, Displays

Background Readings of Articles about Different Kinds of Charts (click here).

Data Visualization background reading

Beyond Bullet Points : Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations that Inform, Motivate and Inspire. General HF 5718.22 .A 87 2005

Cool Infographics : Effective Communication with Data Visualization and Design. General T 385 .K 786 2014

Displaying Your Findings : A Practical Guide for Creating Figures, Posters, and Presentations. Reference BF 76.8 .N 53 2010

The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization. General T 385 .C 33875 2013

How to Write & Give a Speech : A Practical Guide for Anyone Who has to Make Every Word Count . General PN 4121 .D 388 2014

Just Plain Data Analysis : Finding, Presenting, and Interpreting Social Science Data. General HA 29 .K 58 2012

Mapping It Out : Expository Cartography for the Humanities and Social Sciences. General GA 108.7 .M 66 1993

Power Points! : How to Design and Deliver Presentations that Sizzle and Sell. General HF 5718.22 .M 55 2007

Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals. General HF 5718.22 .K 373 2010

Presentation Zen : Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. General HF 5718.22 .R 49 2008

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. General HF 5718.22 .D 833 2010

Show Me the Numbers : Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten. General HF 5718.22 .F 49 2004

Slide:ology : The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations. General HF 5718.22 .D 834 2008

Social Sciences Research : Research, Writing, and Presentation Strategies for Students. General H 62 .S 736 2008

Virtual Presentations that Work. General HF 5718.22 .G 46 2010

Visualizing Social Science Research: Maps, Methods, and Meaning. General H 62 .W 448 2012

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics : The Dos and Don'ts of Presenting Data, Facts, and Figures. General HF 5718.22 .W 65 2010

Theories and Concepts

What is Social Theory?

What is Theory?

What is a Paradigm?

Concept mind map

Theory mind map

A Dictionary of Cultural and Critical  Theory

Encyclopedia of Social Theory.

Isms and Ologies: All the Movements, Ideologies, and Doctrines that have Shaped Our World: The 453 Basic Tenets You've Only Pretended to Understand.  Reference  HM 585 .G 655 2007

Key Concepts in Body and Society.

Key Concepts in Critical Social Theory

Key Concepts in Leisure Studies

Key Contemporary Concepts

Social Theory:  The Multicultural and Classic Readings.   General  HM 51 .S 66235 1993

In addition to the resources above, most of the various subject encyclopedias will have sections on theories, paradigms, and concepts.

Write a Paper

Style Guide of the American Sociological Association (ASA) from Purdue University OWL

Style Guide of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Reference HM 569 .A 54.

A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers. General HM 585 .G 78 2008

Making Sense : A Student's Guide to Research and Writing : Social Sciences. General H 62 .N 67 2009

Sociology Research Paper Ideas

The Sociology Student Writer's Manual and Readers Guide. General HM 569 .J 64 2017

A Sociology Writer's Guide. General HM 585 .Y 45 2009

Successful Academic Writing: A Complete Guide for Social and Behavioral Scientists. General P301.5 .A 27 S 56 2017

Writing in the Social Sciences. General PE 1479 .S 62 M 85 2010

Writing in Sociology: A Brief Guide./em> General HM 569 .M 67 2017

Writing Literature Reviews : A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. General H 62 .G 35 2004

Writing Papers in Psychology: Proposals, Research Papers, Literature Reviews, Poster Presentations and Concise Reports. General BF 76.7 .R 67 2003

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