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last updated: 10/5/2010

Guide to Sociological Abstracts

Guide to Searching Sociological Abstracts

Coverage & Scope
How to Search
Search Results
Marking, Saving, Printing & E-mailing Results
How to Import Records into Endnote
Search Terms
Search History
How to Search for a Specific Journal

Coverage & Scope:

Covers the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database provides abstracts of journal articles and citations, book reviews drawn from over 1,800+ serial publications, abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. Records published by Sociological Abstracts in print during the database's first 11 years, 1952-1962, have been added to the database as of November 2005, extending the depth of the backfile of this authoritative resource.

Records added after 1973 contain abstracts of journal articles.  Many records from key journals in sociology, published since 2001, also include the references cited in the bibliography of the source article.  Coverage: 1952-present.


Sociological Abstracts
is accessible from the IUB Libraries' Find Information web page.  Search for it by title or click on the Sociology subject link.  IU subscribes to the Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA) version of this database.

How to Search:

Quick Search:
Type search terms or phrases into the search box.  Multiple terms entered into the search field are treated as a phrase.  To find all words entered into the search field, separate the words with "AND". To find any words entered into the search field, separate the words with "OR".
     e.g.  Affect control theory=68 hits
            Affect and control and theory=643 hits
            Affect or control or theory=195061 hits

Search additional databases or subjects by using the "Change" pull-down menu and "Specific Databases" link.  Limit a search by using the "Date Range" pull-down menu.

Advanced Search:
The advanced search screen lets you combine terms and restrict your search to specific fields in the database.  Type search terms and phrases into the search fields.  If you enter multiple words into one search box, they will be searched for as a phrase. 
Broaden searches by entering words or phrases in the additional search boxes in each row.  Restrict your search to a certain field (keyword, author, title, abstract, publication type, etc.) by using the pull-down menus on the right.  For more complex searches, use the AND, OR, NOT pull-down menus on the left.  Click the "Add Row" link at the top right of the search form to add additional rows of search boxes. 

Search additional databases or subjects by using the "Change" pull-down menu and "Specific Databases" link.  Limit searches by using the "Date Range" pull-down menu or by checking "Journal Articles Only" or "English Only."  Finally, you  may specify the format and number of results shown.

Search Results:

The Results page presents a list of records, some tools for sorting and refining results, and a search interface at the page bottom that allows you to refine your existing search or begin a new one.  Results are automatically separated into publication types, listed across the top of the screen.  Some of these publication types are journals, peer-reviewed journals, conferences, web sites, books, book chapters, essays, and reports. Select one of the publication type tabs to limit to that type.  At the bottom of the search results page, an additional search box is available to refine your original search.  Results can be sorted by "Most Recent" or by "Relevance."

Marking, Saving, Printing and E-mailing Results:

Browse results by title and descriptor(s).  Use the checkbox next to each title to mark the record.  Once records are marked, use the "Update Marked List" to eliminate unwanted results.  Use the "View Record" link to view the full record.  Use the "Save, Print, E-mail" link to save, print, or e-mail your records in a variety of formats.  Use QuikBib to generate a bibliography of selected database records by choosing a document format and a bibliographic style.  NOTE:  If you are using a pop-up blocker, you need to turn this off before using QuikBib.  Use the IU Link button to locate the full-text article from another electronic database or find the print journal in IUCAT. 

How to Import Records into Endnote:

First, save your records as described above.  Be sure and save records as a text (.txt) file.  Go to  Under "Import Options," choose Sociological Abstracts (CSA).  If this option does not appear in the quick list, choose "The Filters..." and look for it in the complete list of filters.  If you can not find the Sociological Abstract filter there, go to another and download this file.  Next you will need to open a database in EndNote and select Import from the File menu. Click on the Import button and your citations will be downloaded into the EndNote database.

Search Terms:

Develop search terms by looking at the descriptors used in the database.  These descriptors are standard indexing terms taken from the Thesaurus of Sociological Indexing Terms. Descriptors provide very accurate and focused searches; but the preferred indexing term may not be the one you would normally think of. For example, Sociological Abstracts uses the descriptor "emotions" (NOT "emotion") for "affect."

Browse the online Thesaurus (under the "Search Tools" tab) to lead you from one term to the official descriptor.  It also indicates broader, narrower, and related terms that you can use to expand or refine your search.  When you have found a record for a relevant article, look to see what descriptors have been assigned to it. These terms are hyperlinked in the database so you can search for them with one mouse click.

Search History:

Click the "Search History" link at the top of the results screen or the "History" tab under the "Search Tools" tab to see a list of the searches performed during your current session.  Up to fifty current searches are displayed in sequence.  When a fifty-first search is submitted, the first search in the sequence will be dropped.  From this page, you may edit a search; save a search by creating a personal account or logging into an existing account (Alert); delete a search; return to a search; run a search; or save the search as an Alert.  Combine searches by using the search box at the bottom of the History screen.  Combining searches enables you to combine results from two or more searches for the current search history, or combine the results of current searches with new search terms.  Use "AND" or "OR" to combine searches.

How to Search for a Specific Journal:

Select the "Journal Name Index" (from the "Indexes" tab under "Search Tools" tab) and type the journal name you seek in the search box. A list of all journals indexed in Sociological Abstracts appears; Browse through the list, check the titles you wish to add to your search, and click "Search".   

For Help:

The Help & Support link at the top right hand of the screen leads you to generic information on how to search the database.

The database guide for Sociological Abstracts contains useful information about the specific fields, classifications, and indexing terms used in this index.

last updated: 10/5/2010