Urban Studies Research Guide
Choose a topic that is interesting to you and which will work within your assignment's parameters. Usually your research goal is to locate published scholarship (books and journal articles) to read on your topic.
Remember to evaluate the accuracy of your resources, and think critically about their arguments. When in doubt, check with your Urban Studies instructor.
First, read a good summary of an urban studies topic in an urban studies or sociology encyclopedia, like those listed in the Books section. Second, once you know the basics on your topic, search for more published scholarship, such as books in CUNY+ or other catalogs.
Encyclopedias & Dictionaries
- America's Top Rated Cities: A Statistical Handbook (Ref. HT123 .A669 2004, 4 vols.)
- For each city analyzed, contains a page of background information, an extensive list of published rankings for the city, and statistical data for the business environment and the living environment.
- Encyclopedia of American Urban History (Ref. HT123 .E49 2007, 2 vols.)
- Authoritative essays, from an interdisciplinary approach, on all aspects of U.S. urban history.
- Encyclopedia of Community (Ref. HM756 .E53 2003, 4 vols.)
- Contains long essays on broad topics relevant to modern communities. It is international in scope, and each volume contains Resource Guides to scholarship in twenty-one broad subject areas.
- Encyclopedia of Urban America (Ref. HT123 .E5 1998, 2 vols.)
- First source for an overview of a topic, event, or issue in the urban or suburban U.S.
- Handbook of Urban Studies (Ref. HT151 .H318 2001)
- Provides extensive essays on the current state of scholarship in the demographic, economic, environmental, and political aspects of urban studies.
- Historic Cities of the Americas: An Illustrated Encyclopedia (Ref. HT121 .M37 2005, 2 vols.)
- Has long essays accompanied by historic illustrations or photographs. Reading lists for each city are at the end of each volume, and include scholarship in English and in a city's national language.
- Profiles of America: Facts, Figures & Statistics (Ref.HT123 .P7624 2003, 4 vols., 2nd edition)
- Covers every populated place in the U.S. Provides basic statistics at the state, county, and community level for population, economy, income, education, housing, and transportation.
- 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. Use the following databases to search for journal articles on a topic. You can use other Databases depending what topic you are researching.
- Opposing Viewpoints
- Basic information from reference books, magazine and news articles on many social issues, such as abortion, capital punishment, and welfare reform.
- Social Sciences Citation Index
- Citations from thousands of scholarly journals in the social sciences. Tracks cited references to determine what journal articles cite or reference other journal articles.
- Social Sciences Full Text
- English-language journals in the major social sciences. For topics such as criminology, family, public administration, social work. Abstracts to journal articles and citations to book reviews.
- Abstracts to English-language journal and magazine articles, conference papers, book chapters and book reviews. For topics such as demography, family, gender, social work.
- Sociological Abstracts
- International literature in all topics of sociology, such as criminology, demography, family, social welfare. Abstracts to journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers, and citations to book reviews.
- Urban Studies Abstracts
- Abstracts to journal and magazine articles for topics in urban affairs, such as architecture, city planning, community development, urban economics, urban history, urban renewal.
Newspaper articles can be used to explore a potential topic, or may be a necessary part of the source material an urban studies researcher needs to read because of the nature of the topic, for example, a topic dealing with a local region, such as New York City.
- LEXIS-NEXIS Academic
- The best way to access New York City newspapers is through its Sources section. Instructions:
- for Country select United States
- for Topics, select General News Sources
- for Region, select New York State
- for Trail Publication Type, select News, then Newspapers
- New York Times
- Full-text of the newspaper since 1980, images NOT available. Updated daily.
- New York Times Historical
- Full-page and full-article images, with searchable full-text from its first issue. Provides access to every page of the newspaper for the years 1851-2004.
Journals (Browse E-Journals)
- 40+ core journals in sociology. Cover-to-cover full-text from a journal's first issue until about five years ago.
- Sage Urban Studies & Planning
- Full-text articles from 12 peer-reviewed journals, for topics such as community development, public administration, regional geography, spatial dynamics.
Data, Statistics & Documents
- Index to Current Urban Documents (ICUD)
- Citations to public policy reports by local government agencies, from 500 U.S. and Canadian cities. Full-text of documents for the New England Region only.
- Statistics for local areas of New York City and New York State. Demographic data from the 1980, 1990, 2000 census. Health, immigration, socio-economic data since the 1990s.
- Social Explorer
- United States demographic data, maps, and reports taken from the Federal Census, from 1940 to 2000.
Reports, studies, and data are sometimes available from the major scholarly organizations in urban studies.
- American Planning Association
- Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning
- Regional Studies Association
- Urban and Regional Information Systems Association: URISA
- Urban Affairs Association
- Urban History Association
Reports or studies written by research institutes or non-profit think-tanks can also be useful.
- Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (University of Minnesota)
- Center for Urban Policy Research (Rutgers University)
- Center for Urban Research (Graduate Center, CUNY)
- Center for Urban Studies (Wayne State University)
- Center on Urban Poverty and Social Change (Case Western Reserve University)
- Comparative Urban Studies Project (Woodrow Wilson ICS)
- Great Cities Institute (University of Illinois at Chicago)
- Joint Center for Poverty Research (Northwestern & Chicago Universities)
- Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
- Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research (SUNY at Albany)
- Project for Public Spaces: PPS
- Taub Urban Research Center (New York University)
- Urban Institute
- Urban Land Institute
Continue your search for reports, studies, data, statistics, and information by browsing these web gateways for urban studies.
- Cyburbia: The Planning Portal
- H-Urban Discussion Network
- KnowledgePlex… Affordable Housing and Community Development
- Planetizen: The Planning & Development Network
- Planners Web & Planning Commissioners Journal
- Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse
- Transportation Links (New Jersey Transportation Information and Decision Engineering)
- Urban Environmental Management (WWW Virtual Library)