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Sociology Research: Home

Finding information for research papers in LSC-O Sociology courses

Guide contents

Click the tabs above for:

  • Choosing a topic in sociology
  • Sociology reference sources 
  • Books on sociology topics
  • Magazine & journal articles
  • Sociology Web sites
  • Citing sources in MLA style

Sociology research paper assignments

Research papers are required for these LSC-O sociology courses:

  • SOCI 2301 Marriage and Family
  • SOCI 2306 Human Sexuality
  • SOCI 2326 Social Psychology

Use your text books to browse for topics or click the "Choose a Topic" tab (above) for more topic ideas.

The research process

Doing a research paper is a process. Begin early, complete steps of the process regularly, and allow time to reflect on your paper for a good paper without a lot of stress. Follow these basic steps:


  • Select a general topic of interest. As you research this topic, the topic will probably undergo some revisions. That's normal. As you learn more about the topic, the more focused it will become.
  • Find background (or explanatory) information using reference books or reference databases, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries and statistical resources. See our "Reference sources" tab. Don't skip or skimp on this step. Going straight to magazine or journal articles because they are required, for example, will leave a knowledge gap in your understanding of the topic.
  • Keep good notes as you research. Save the citation information needed to create a list of sources. Note the databases searched, search strategies used, in case you need to return to the same information later. Look over the "Cite in MLA style" tab if you don't know where to find the citation information.
  • Select important concepts relevant to your topic, and choose keywords by brainstorming important words and phrases to use in your research.
  • Use our Library Catalog to find books. Also search the Lamar University library if our library doesn't have much on your topic. See our "Sociology books" tab for these items. Evaluate books: Is it relevant? Is it current enough? Request books from Lamar University via our Interlibrary Loan service. Use the Interlibrary Loan Request Form.
  • Find magazine, and/or journal articles. See our "Magazines & journals" tab. Evaluate articles as you did for books: Is it relevant? Is it current enough?
  • Find Web info. See the "Web info" tab. Evaluate Web information for: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. (Evaluate for CRAAP!) Try using a database that provides relevant Web links along with the topics: Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Encyclopedia Americana both provide links to relevant, authoritative Web sources.
  • Read over the information. Note any quotes you need to work into the paper.
  • Create your thesis statement. Once you have read the information and gained enough knowledge about the topic, write your main thesis idea in a sentence, what you plan to support in your paper. Your thesis sentence appears in your introductory paragraphs, usually at the end of your first paragraph.
  • Create an outline of main ideas to cover in your paper arranged in a logical order. Note any quotes you plan to use to support your ideas in your outline.
  • Write the paper. Type the paper. Read over the paper and then have someone else critique it. Revise it. Reflect on it for a day or two. Revise it again.
  • Cite your sources in the required style on a separate page at the end of your paper. Cite any information that is not common knowledge, or that is not from your own knowledge base. See our "Citing in MLA style" tab for more details. Cite only the quotes or paraphrases that appear in the paper. List all of these in alphabetical order by author name.

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