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Social Problems

Finding and Focusing a Topic

The Library has a large number of subject specific online encyclopedias with exhaustive and well-researched entries written by subject experts. The essays in these encyclopedias and companions are great overviews and they can be very helpful in defining and focusing a topic. All essays include bibliographies that will lead to further sources on a topic.

Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
Here are links to a few sample entries:
Social Problems, Concepts and Perspectives
Politics of Social Problems

Encyclopedia of Social Problems
Browse the Reader's Guide for topic ideas or simply enter a keyword into the search box.

21st Century Sociology
See the entry on Social Problems.

SAGE Knowledge
Search the Sage Knowledge reference collection in its entirety or browse specific encyclopedias such as the Encyclopedia of Homelessness, the Encyclopedia of World Poverty or the Encyclopedia of Crime & Punishment.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Here is a selection of databases that will lead you to peer-reviewed a.k.a. scholarly journal articles. Contact me for further suggestions.

Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)
Indexes peer-reviewed sociology journals.

Social Services Abstracts (ProQuest)
Covers current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas.

ERIC (ProQuest)
Indexes both peer-reviewed education journals and reports from government and private agencies.

Criminal Justice Abstracts (EBSCO)
Covers crime trends, crime prevention and deterrence, juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, police, courts and sentencing.

findit.gif  Your gateway to the full text of journal articles!

Content is available via the following links:  Click on the Article link(s) to go to the full text.
Request from Villanova document delivery or another library:  Submit an interlibrary loan request online. It takes on average 3-5 days for the article to arrive via email.

Full text linking:

What is a scholarly journal article?

A scholarly journal article is a lengthy journal article based on primary research or original theoretical speculation and published in what is often referred to as a peer-reviewed journal. Most scholarly journal articles in the social sciences include the following elements:

Author name and affiliation
Introduction & literature review
Data & measurement
Analysis & results

For a more detailed description of the differences between scholarly journals and popular magazines click here.

Citing Your Sources

Click on the image below to download the presentation slides from the workshop:


kcarro03 Kristyna Carroll
Research Support Librarian for Business and Social Sciences
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Room 223


Last Modified: Tuesday, June 9th, 2015