University LibraryStudents

Subject guides

Social Sciences

Jen De Lillo

Photo of  Jen De Lillo

Academic Librarian

Sharon Reid

Photo of  Sharon Reid

Academic Librarian

Please contact me for individual help in finding information for your studies and referencing guidance.


Social Sciences photo courtesy of Anders Sandberg under CC license from

This guide aims to provide you with information about the Library’s resources and services relevant to Social Sciences.
Use the tabs above to find information about:
•    print and electronic books (e-books)
•    journals and journal articles
•    referencing

Before you start remember to download the VPN from IT Services to gain seamless off-campus access to ebooks, e-journals, databases, e-mail and print credits etc.
If this guide does not provide you with the information that you need then please contact your Academic Librarian.

Other related guides you may find useful


The library stocks books in both print and electronic format which you can find on the catalogue.  Electronic books or e-books can be viewed on any computer whether you are in the Library or working from home off campus.  Just remember to download the VPN for off campus access.

Most of your books will be on level 2 of the Library. Here is an example of one social science book discovered from the catalogue :

You will find the book by Hollis shelved at 300.1/HOL on level 2 of the Library together with all the other books with shelf marks 001-499 and 700-999. Level 1 stocks books with shelfmarks 500-699. The only exceptions are those marked High Demand which are kept in a special collection on level 3 and Reading Collection which are kept on level 4.

If you only want to search for e-books on the catalogue then refine your search by selecting ‘eBook’ in 'Limit to' in the advanced search. Alternatively select ‘Book’ if you only want print books. 

Tip 1:  Tap on the Virtual Browse tab to find other books on the same subject without having to come into the Library. 

Tip 2:  The image on the book cover displayed in the catalogue will take you through to the description in Google Books which will often have descriptions, tables of contents and some text.

Academic journals are sometimes referred to as periodicals or serials.  Journals are written by and for experts in their chosen field. Journal articles help scholars and researchers to share their research with the academic community and are published on a regular basis, for example monthly or quarterly.  Only articles which have been reviewed by other experts or peers (peer reviewed) make it into academic journals, unlike articles published in popular magazines or newspapers. The library also stocks trade magazines, which include exhibition reviews, news and job opportunities.
The library stocks a number of print journals (on levels 1 and 2), but the bulk are available as electronic journals or e-journals.

Why use journals:

•    They provide useful information, research and discussions
•    Give different viewpoints from several authors
•    Information is current as journals are published quicker than books
•    Latest research on new or emerging subject areas


Social Sciences journals photo courtesy of The Wiley Asia Blog  under CC license from

Key databases to find journal articles

Millions of journal articles have been published over the years. The library’s catalogue can locate the titles of some but not all journal articles by selecting the ‘catalogue plus’ search option.  By searching specialist databases you will find more articles of direct relevance to your subject. You may also find articles which don’t get picked up by Library Catalogue Plus.

  • ASSIA (Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts): Key database for social policy, criminology, sociology and some social psychology topics. Abstract and indexing service.
  • Google Books: Useful for searching within the text of some books.

  • Google Scholar: Useful general search tool for scholarly articles, but do try the other subject specific databases as well. Abstract and indexing service with some full-text.
  • IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences): Useful for most social science topics, especially sociology. Abstract and indexing service.

  • NICE (Evidence Search): Search full text evidence-based literature for medicine, health and social care topics.

  • PsycARTICLES: Useful for social psychology topics. Full-text within the database itself.
  • PsycINFO: Key database for social psychology. Abstract and indexing service.
  • Scopus: Multi-disciplinary database including journal articles, conference papers, trade publications, patent records from 5 patent offices and scientific web pages.
  • Sociological Abstracts: Key database for sociology; useful for communication and media, criminology, social policy and some social psychology topics too. Abstract and indexing service.

You will need to check for article availability from the abstract and indexing databases. Use the SFX links   and then select the   icon to access the full text where available.

E-journals can be viewed on any computer whether you are in the Library or working from home off campus.  Just remember to download the VPN for off campus access.

When you refer to another person’s work in your own essay, presentation or dissertation, you will need to reference that work to avoid plagiarising it. This allows the person reading your work to differentiate between your ideas and those of another person. You can reference the work in two ways:

  • Citation, also called an in-text or in-line citation, accompanies the quote, extract, paraphrasing or illustration that you have used and provides the name of the author/creator, date and page numbers if relevant. For example: ‘Recent research (Lull, 2000, pp. 20-21) challenges previous theories…..’

  •  Bibliography - provides the details of all the sources which you have consulted during your research.

    Here are a few common bibliographic types:

    • Printed book - include the following details: author/editor; publication year; title; edition if not the first; place of publication; series and volume number where relevant. For example: Lull, J. (2000). Media, communication, culture: a global approach. (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.
    • Article from an e-journal - include the following details: author(s); publication year; article title; journal title; volume and number; pagination; DOI.  For example: Anderson, C. M., Petrie, T. A., & Neumann, C. S. (2012). Effects of sport pressures on female collegiate athletes: A preliminary longitudinal investigation. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 1(2), 120-134. doi:10.1037/a0026587
    • Web page – include the following details: author; publication date; title; URL; date of access. For example: Barnardo’s. (2014). Youth justice service: facts and statistics about youth crime. Retrieved from [accessed 7 July 2015]

For more examples and assistance, see the advice sheet on citing and referencing using the APA style on the Social Sciences – Department Information Learn page and also on the Learn page which accompanies the Foundations in Social Sciences module. The official APA Style guide offers online support and plenty of examples to help you.


Reference management software

Reference management software can help you to keep track of all the references you have used in your reports, essays or final project. The library provides guidance on the following type:

There are quick start-up guides on Learn.