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Using Sociological Abstracts

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This tutorial will show you how to use Sociological Abstracts on the ProQuest platform.

Sociological Abstracts is a database with citations pointing to literature in sociology and related social and behavioral sciences disciplines. 

There are citations from journals, books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. 

What is a citation?

Access Sociological Abstracts

  • Click on the Databases tab in the search box in the upper right hand corner of the library homepage.
  • Type in Sociological Abstracts.
  • Click Go or hit Enter/Return on your keyboard.

Database Search

  • Click on Sociological Abstracts.
Sociology Abstracts will open in a new tab. You will need to adjust your display to view both the tutorial and the database at the same time, or you can toggle back and forth as you complete the tutorial.

If you are using the mobile version of the library website:

  • Look for the grey button in the upper left, and select Our Collections > Library Databases

mobile version of library website - access databases

  • Click on the S category.

S category

  • Scroll down to find Sociological Abstracts.
  • Click on Sociological Abstracts.

Search Strategies

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You are now on the Advanced Search screen of the database.

Sociological Abstracts, like many databases, responds well to basic search strategies.

Here are three strategies we will be using shortly.

Search Strategy #1: AND/OR

Use AND to join dissimilar concepts. This will narrow your search.

AND example

Use OR to join similar concepts. This will broaden your search.

using OR

Search Strategies

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Search Strategy #2: Quotation Marks

Use quotations marks to search for a specific phrase.

phrase searching example

Search Strategy #3: Truncation

Use truncation to search for variations of a word. Truncate the end of your search term with an asterisk (*).

truncation example

Constructing Your Search

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To create a search, start with your research question.

thought bubble common craft

 Sample research question:

  • Does parenting style influence the social skills of teens?

Consider the key concepts in your question, and identify other terms or phrases that are similar or related.

  • parenting style OR parenting practices OR parenting
  • social skills OR social competence OR social development
  • teens OR adolescence OR adolescents OR young adults

Constructing Your Search

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Let's try putting some of the concepts and related terms/phrases into a search using AND/OR, phrase searching, and truncation.

  • Enter the concepts, visible in the screenshot below, into Sociological Abstract's search boxes.
  • Click Add a row as needed.

screenshot of Search in Sociological Abstracts

  • Click Search.

Narrowing Search Results

Now that you have a set of search results, look for limiting options.

  • Under Source Type, click on Scholarly Journals to remove dissertations and conference papers.

Source type options

  • You may be interested in more recent publications. Under Publication Date, click Enter a date range. Add 2010 as the start and 2019 as the end year.

Date Filter for Sociological Abstracts

  • Click Update.

Finding Alternative Search Terms Through Subjects

Continue to look at other limiters or filters.

  • Find and click on Subject.

These are terms and phrases that are used to describe the articles in your results list. Make sure to click on More options to see the complete list.

Subject listing

Locating Full-Text

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Sociological Abstracts is primarily a citation database rather than a full-text database. This means that although citations are available, full-text articles are usually not available in this type of database.

When in a citation database, you will often click the UC-eLinks button to locate the full-text of an article.

The full-text may be immediately available elsewhere in another database or journal website to which the library subscribes or may need to be requested through Interlibrary Loan. You will learn more about Interlibrary Loan shortly.

UC-eLinks button

Locating Full-Text

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NOTE: Clicking on UC-eLinks will take you to a new tab or window, and you will lose these tutorial instructions. You will need to come back to this tab or window to finish the tutorial.

Find the article “The Moderating Effects of Parenting Styles on African-American and Caucasian Children's Suicidal Behaviors” by Greening, Stoppelbein, and Luebbe. Click on the UC-eLinks button under the article.

UC-eLinks button

This will take you to the article from the journal's website where you will see the option to download the full-text of the article as a PDF.

Find the full-text PDF of the article.

Locating Full-Text

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Most of the articles from your search in Sociological Abstracts are available in other databases or journal websites to which the library subscribes.

If the article is not available, UC-eLinks may prompt you to request the article from another library through Interlibrary Loan.


What is Interlibrary Loan?

Generate a Citation

Sociological Abstracts also has tools that can help make your research more efficient. For example, it has a citation tool to help you create citations for bibliographies.

Click on the title “The Moderating Effects of Parenting Styles on African-American and Caucasian Children's Suicidal Behaviors” again if you are not already there. 

Find and click on Cite to get a citation in APA style.

NOTE: On a laptop or desktop, you will see Cite in the upper right. On a mobile device, you may need to scroll down.

screenshot - cite in sociological abstracts

The formatted citation is available for copying and pasting into another document.

You can also change the citation style.

  • Click on the down arrow by the Change button.
  • Select ASA 5th edition from the drop-down list.

The formatted citation is available for copying and pasting into another document.

Getting Assistance

If you are unsure about using Sociological Abstracts, click on the question mark in the upper right for ProQuest Help.

Question mark and other tools

If you get stuck with your research and want to speak with a librarian, visit the library’s home page, and click on the Ask a Librarian button for 24/7 chat support.

Ask a Librarian graphic


This concludes the Using Sociological Abstracts tutorial.

Now that you’ve finished:

  • Complete the short 3-question quiz on the next page.
  • Enter your email and your professor’s email when prompted. 
  • Send the email.
  • Print your quiz results if desired.
  • Let us know what you think about the tutorial by clicking on the feedback link after the quiz.

Thank you!


Sociological Abstracts is primarily a

What are two highly valuable limiters in Sociological Abstracts (and other ProQuest databases)?

The citation functionality in Sociological Abstracts defaults to ASA (American Sociological Association) Style.



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