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Reader's guide to the social sciences /

Other Authors: Michie, Jonathan.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: London ; Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001
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Review by Choice Review

The latest in Fitzroy Dearborn's Reader's Guide series contains just over 1,200 entries for concepts and individuals in the social sciences, adding broad survey entries for the major subjects covered. The guide intends to direct readers to important secondary writings, which will lead them to further writings and explication--a focused literature search for beginning or experienced researchers. Entries are alphabetically arranged; each consists of a bibliographic headnote listing several titles to be discussed, followed by an essay succinctly and clearly assessing the importance of each. Aids include a thematic list of topics in volume 1, an index of all cited works, and a detailed subject index. Contributors and editorial advisers are an international group of academics and other experts. Criteria for inclusion in this admittedly selective list of topics in the social sciences are not explained, except to say that topics have a "distinct literature" associated with them. Economics is best represented, followed by sociology, political science and international relations, psychology, law, management and business, research methods, human geography, and organizational behavior. That the work is not more comprehensive is said more in regret than criticism; it satisfies its limited purpose very well. Expanded future editions would be welcome. Enthusiastically recommended to all college and university libraries. F. Oscadal Dartmouth College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

The new Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences is more like an annotated bibliography in essay format than an encyclopedia. The purpose of the set is to "guide the reader towards the key texts on specific topics" in the disciplines of economics, politics, sociology, law, business and management, psychology, organizational behavior, human geography, and international relations. The set does not provide introductory background information on a topic, but it does serve as a "useful springboard for any literature search." The signed entries are written by professors and scholars in the social sciences, and they have picked out from six to twelve sources (both books and periodical articles) they feel are seminal to their topics. Topics that do not have a distinct literature are not included. The guide consists of 1,200 entries, between 800 to 1,000 words, arranged in alphabetical order. Adolescence; Ergonomics; Galbraith, Kenneth; Moral Majority; New Deal; Pornography; Retirement; and Structuration theory are just a few examples. The emphasis lies more heavily on economics, business, and politics than one might expect, to the neglect of areas like philosophy and human geography. Each entry begins with a list of the sources that are to be covered, then proceeds to briefly discuss each source. All author surnames are in capital letters to distinguish then from the rest of the text. There are nine longer survey entries for the nine major disciplines covered in the set, intended to "act as large-scale maps" for readers to put the shorter entries into context. The volumes have cross-references, both in the main entries ("Transvestitism See Transgender") and at the end of an entry ("See also Gender Roles"). However, these cross-references are selective; more useful is the general index at the back of volume 2. The index leads to topics with no main entry: although there is no main entry for Divorce, for example, the index entry divorce leads to Custody, Customary law, and Marital therapy. Other useful reader aids include an alphabetical lists of advisers and contributors; brief biographical notes on contributors; an alphabetical list of all entries; a thematic list of entries grouped by broad subject and specific subject; and a "Booklist Index" of all sources discussed throughout the volumes. The intended audience is "students or researchers . . . teachers and lecturers." Entries are scholarly and succinct, which the serious researcher will appreciate. The Reader's Guide will nicely complement standard sociology reference sources such as Kuper's Social Science Encyclopedia and Borgatta and Montgomery's Encyclopedia of Sociology [RBB Je 1 & 15 01], which share its scholarly, theoretical bent. Undergraduates can turn to various volumes in the Magill's Survey of Social Science series, which is aimed at nonspecialists. Interestingly, the Reader's Guide leads to many unique sources even for main entries it has in common with the other encyclopedias; and as a bibliographic tool it is currently the most up-to-date of them all. It is unique for the expert guidance to selected texts it offers in a field that is bustling with secondary material. The price is reasonable given the impressive wealth of scholarship that is packed into its pages. Recommended for libraries with advanced social science students, researchers, and scholars.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

[This work] concentrates on economics; political economy; politics; sociology; law; management and business; psychology and organizational psychology; organizational behavior; human geography; international relations; and research and analysis methods in the social sciences." Though touching on only a few of the well over 800 signed entries, the following gives a taste of the work's variety: "Ageism," "Capital Punishment," "Foucault," "Group Therapy," "Magna Carta," "Shyness," "Vegetarianism," "Women and the Law," and "Urbanism." Each entry opens by listing approximately eight to 20 books and sometimes articles, then follows with short descriptions noting each work's intent and importance. See also references are included. The beginning of each volume includes an alphabetical list of entries, followed by a thematic list. The second volume ends with a Booklist Index, a General Index, and Notes on Advisors and Contributors. Offering expert contributions from international scholars, this guide ably fulfills its aim of covering both important older works and recent publications. Recommended for most academic libraries, particularly those serving undergraduates, and public libraries where there is interest and need. Cynthia A. Johnson, Barnard Coll. Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.