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SOCY 5201W Senior Seminar: Books and E-books Databases

How to Assess the Usefuleness of a Monograph

In our busy lives, we often don't have the time to read every book-length study we come across, no matter how interesting, brilliant, or relevant it is. If you are interested in using book-length studies in your research, this guide will provide some useful tips on how to skim and understand whether or not a book will be helpful for your paper, project, or dissertation.

Tip 1 Check the Publisher name
As a novice to an intermediate researcher, you will want to read studies from reputable academic publishers like presses that are affiliated with universities. Scholarly and professional associations like the American Sociological Association also publish high-quality monographs. There are also for-profit academic publishers like Elsevier, Springer, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, Sage, Emerald. Presses have editors curate content and often specialize in a particular research area in addition to ensuring the author is a qualified expert

Tip 2 Read the Table of Contents

The table of contents will give you an idea of how the book is structured and which chapters have titles and introductory paragraphs that are relevant to your topic.

Tip 3 If there is an Index and Reference section look to see if your topic is present and often mentioned in a particular chapter(s).

Tip 4 If the Table of Contents and the Index look promising, read the introduction to the book.

The introduction is usually the first chapter. The intro is a road map to how the chapters are organized, and the logic in the presentation of themes, topics, and research evidence. The introduction will also tell you if the author is working with a particular research method (ethnography for example), and if they are using specific theories to help them analyze the data so that it connects to ideas in their academic discipline(s)

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Popular Call Numbers

HM1-1281 Sociology
HN1-995 Social history and conditions. Social problems.
HQ1-2044 The Family. Marriage. Women
HT51-1595 Communities. Classes. Races.
HV1-9960 Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology