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SOC106 - Introduction to Sociology - Smith: Selecting & Exploring Your Topic

Sociology Topics

Sociology is the social science which studies human behavior in society. Sociology seeks to understand patterns of behavior within society, and how culture and social institutions shape human behavior.  Sociologists explore the social consequences of politics, government, and distribution of goods and services. Sociologists wish to understand how culture dictates daily interactions and how people adjust to difficulties of life.*

Topics in Sociological research cover a variety of topics associated with social structures, categories, and institutions.

Sociologists follow the scientific method when doing research, just as physicists and chemists do. The goals of scientific research include explaining why phenomena occur, making generalizations from individual cases and using data collected from wider groups. Most important, sociologists try to understand the social fabric in order to predict and perhaps improve the future.*

In applied sociology, the scientific method is combined with social theory to provide solutions for problems. For example, if a city wanted a new type of water treatment center that would benefit the public but would require increased taxes for residents, sociologists might be employed to find out how individuals feel about the new plan. Sociologists use surveys, interviews, and existing data to find answers.*

*"Sociology." World of Sociology, Gale, edited by Joseph M. Palmisano, Gale, 1st edition, 2001. Credo Reference.

Explore some of the databases listed below, look in your textbook and class notes, read the newspaper, or talk with friends and classmates for ideas about Sociology topics.

Tip: Choose a topic that interests you! It will be easier to research and write about.

Where to Begin?

Look up your main concepts in general encyclopedias and subject-specific reference sources. Read articles in these reference materials to set the context for your research. Note important key terms or phrases. Note any relevant items in the bibliographies at the end of these encyclopedia articles. Additional background information may be provided in your lecture notes, textbooks and items on reserve in the library.

credo reference
Our Credo Reference database has just what you need to get you started.

2. A. How to Develop a Good Research Topic

Using Wikipedia to Develop Your Topic

Wikipedia is a great place to start your research, to get ideas about your topic, and to help you understand the issues related to a topic. While you won't use it as a source for your paper, you can use it to develop your topic, research question, and search strategy.