Jessica Sender, MA, MLS
Liaison to the College of Nursing
Michigan State University
As medicine, nursing, social work, and other healthcare fields become more and more interdisciplinary and interprofessional, Sociological Abstracts has become more important as a potential research tool for many. This database provides subject coverage predominantly in the social and behavioral sciences. It also includes the Social Services Abstracts, which covers social work, human services, and other related areas, such as social welfare, social policy, health policy, and community development.
Sociological Abstracts is robust in a variety of areas, including international representation, resource type, and language diversity. It indexes over 1,000 journals, but also includes different resource types, such as dissertations, book reviews, trade journals, working papers, and conference papers and proceedings. Over 40 percent of the titles are published outside North America, and over 20 percent of the content is in a language other than English.
Sociological Abstracts is available for purchase via ProQuest, which allows for access through its ProQuest platform. It is worth noting that PsycINFO and other well-known databases are available through this platform, making it easy on end users. On the ProQuest platform, users can set up an account and create a profile through the My Research function, and select language preferences. The My Research profile allows for saving searches, creating folders to save searches, setting up alerts and RSS feeds, and even has an option to create a search widget that can be embedded on websites and library guides.
ProQuest has options to save citations or export to citation managers, including RefWorks, EndNote, EasyBib, as well as a variety of other options to save or export. Additionally, users who have a RefWorks account can link their account to the My Research account on the ProQuest platform, making it easy to transfer citations.
Sociological Abstracts has both a basic and a quite robust advanced search function. Searching can be done via Boolean operators and field codes, and ProQuest has a helpful field codes tips section in its help documentation. There are additional advanced search functionalities for source type, document type, and language. The language limiter features over 50 languages, and the document type allows for unique document searching, including back matter, clinical trials, case reports, dissertations and historical articles, among many others.
The database also includes the Thesaurus of Sociological Indexing Terms, which is the definitive index in the field, similar to MeSH terms in PubMed. It includes main term descriptions and term relationships, as well as scope and history notes. Users can create advanced searches using both thesaurus terms and keyword searching, combined with Boolean operators to ensure advanced level searching.
Sociological Abstracts is suitable for any educational, healthcare, or public institution that supports social work, social policy, community and urban development, and sociology writ large. It is reliable and robust, and provides access to a variety of national and international journals, suitable for researchers from a variety of backgrounds, including students, faculty, PhD researchers, and general community users.