SOC 331 Course Guide (Sociological Theory)
For excellent background reading material on social theory use the reference resources listed below.
Remember to evaluate the accuracy of your resources, and think critically about their arguments. When in doubt, check with your Sociology instructor.
First, read a good summary of a social theory, and the biographical and historical context for the theory, in specialized encyclopedias, like those listed in the Books section. Second, once you know the basics about the theory you can search for more published scholarship, such as books, in the CUNY Catalog or other catalogs.
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
- Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (Ref. HM425 .B53 2007, 11 vols.)
- Contains the most up-to-date short entries of key terms, and longer essays on large topics.
- Dictionary of Literary Biography
- Full-text of book essays on literary authors, also philosophers and social theorists; includes biographical analysis, critiques, bibliographies, primary sources
- Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Ref. B51 .E53 2006, 10 vols., 2nd edition.)
- Comprehensive encyclopedia with long essays covering all periods and movements of philosophy. Some of the essays date from the original edition (1967) and have not been revised.
- Encyclopedia of Religion (Ref. BL31 .E46 2005, 15 vols., 2nd edition)
- Standard multi-volume reference work with long essays on religious topics. Some essays in the 2nd edition have not been revised from the 1987 version.
- Encyclopedia of Social Theory (Ref. HM4215 .E47 2005, 2 vols.)
- First place to consult for an authoritative summary of a social theory.
- International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (Ref. H40 .A2 I5 2008, 9 vols., 2nd edition)
- Completely revised edition of the classic encyclopedias (1937, 1968) that set the standard for social science reference resources.
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Dr. James Fieser & Dr. Bradley Dowden
- MagillOnLiterature Plus
- Full-text summaries and overviews of literary, historical, and philosophical works; based on the Magill reference books: Masterplots, Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Magill Book Reviews, etc.; from EBSCO.
- New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (Ref. CB9 .N49 2005, 6 vols., 2nd edition)
- Best multi-volume encyclopedia on intellectual history. Places ideas and concepts within their historical context. Includes excellent cross-references and reading lists.
- New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics
- This 2nd edition of the authoritative economics reference dictionary/encyclopedia contains over 1,850 essays by leading economists covering all aspects of economics.
- Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Ref B51. O94 1995)
- A dictionary of short entries on terms, concepts, and philosophers. Contains multi-page essays on broad topics, such as philosophical movements and intellectual eras.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Stanford University
- CUNY Catalog
- Search for books at the Queens College libraries, as well as other CUNY libraries.
- Library Catalogs
- Search the library catalogs of regional libraries such as the Queens Library, Brooklyn Public Library, New York University, Columbia University, etc.
- New York Public Library
- Search CATNYP, the catalog of the research libraries at NYPL. Books at the research libraries are non-circulating and must be consulted on site. NYPL has one of the premier research collections in the country and is open to all New York State residents.
- Search for books in the national catalog for the United States and Canada. Includes holdings from libraries in other parts of the world, primarily European or English-speaking.
Articles (Search Databases)
A journal article is written by a scholar or an expert, and provides a detailed analysis of a topic. It is written in the specialized language of a scholarly discipline (such as Sociology). It documents the resources the writer used by providing bibliographic citations such as footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography so a reader can check or repeat the research the scholar has completed.
A scholarly journal is edited by scholars, and any article published in the journal has usually been approved by the author's peers or by referees (other scholars expert in the subject who serve as editors or readers and critique the article before it is accepted for publication). This is why most scholarly journals are referred to as a Peer-Reviewed or Refereed journals. Here is a comparison between popular and scholarly periodicals. Use the following databases to search for journal articles on a topic. You can use other Databases depending what topic you are researching.
- Philosopher's Index
- Scholarly research in major fields of philosophy, such as aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, logic, metaphysics. Abstracts to journal articles and book essays, and citations to book reviews.
- Social Sciences Full Text
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles and social commentary magazine articles; citations to book reviews; a former Wilson index.
- Sociological Abstracts
- Abstracts of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers; citations to book reviews; includes international publications.
Journals (Browse E-Journals)
- Annual Review of Sociology
- Full-text of scholarly journal articles which are definitive critical reviews of the recent sociological research literature.
- Full-text (cover-to-cover) of 40+ core scholarly journals in sociology; coverage from a journal's first issue until about five years ago.
- Sage Sociology
- Full-text of scholarly journal articles from 35+ peer-reviewed journals in Sociology.