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Sociological Theory

Tips and hints for locating resources for your research project.

What is a search strategy?

Developing a strong search strategy can save you time when it is time to search for resources.  Rather than doing general searching using Google, we recommend that you search using the library databases.  Searching Google is much different than searching library databases.

One facet of database searching that can be difficult to get used to is subject heading or keyword searches.  Rather than typing a question in and expecting instant results, users need to focus on identifying and using controlled language searches.

Identifying controlled language for subject headings and keywords is beneficial for the savvy researcher.  Controlled language is typically assigned by the Library of Congress and is then used universally (or at least in English) by vendors and publishers when identifying main points and ideas for their books, journals and other publications.

Once the controlled language for your topic is identified, database searching is usually much easier. 

Language used on websites by various entities can often be arbitrary and inconsistent.

Searching Theorists

Theorists and their works in Dugan Library

Durkheim, Emile, 1858-1917

Suicide or

Division of Labor

Owned by Dugan Library

Owned by Dugan Library

Weber, Max, 1864-1920 Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism Owned by Dugan Library
Simmel, Georg, 1858-1918 Conflict: Web of Group Affiliation Not owned by Dugan Library
Cooley, Charles Horton, 1864-1929 Social Organization Not owned by Dugan Library
Mead, George Herbert, 1836-1931 Mind, Self, and Society Owned by Dugan Library
Du Bois, W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Philadelphia Negro or

The Souls of Black Folk

Not owned by Dugan Library

Owned by Dugan Library

Veblen, Thorstein Theory of the Leisure Class Not owned by Dugan Library
Goffman, Erving The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life Owned by Dugan Library
Smith, Dorothy E. The Conceptual Practices of Power Not owned by Dugan Library

Any books not owned by Dugan Library may be requested using our interlibrary loan service.  If the book by your theorist is already checked out to someone else, we will be happy to get a copy for you using our interlibrary loan service.


When searching in databases and catalogs, these theorists can be searched using in multiple ways.

  • Author: this should return results where the theorist is the author of the book or article
  • Subject: this should return results where the theorist is the subject of the book or article
  • Keyword: this should return results where the theorist is the author OR the subject of the book or article

​Looking for commentary or critique on a theorists writings?

  • Search for the theorist as a subject, use the title of the work as a keyword to locate those items
    • Be sure to put the title of the book in quotation marks! For example: "Division of Labor"