Research Skills and Methods

The following sample Sociology annotated bibliography is 545 words long, in CMS format, and written at the undergraduate level. It has been downloaded 505 times and is available for you to use, free of charge.

Ife, Jim W. Community Development: Community-Based Alternatives in an Age of Globalisation. French Forest, N.S.W.: Pearson Australia, 2006.  

This text introduces the reader to the principles of community development. The author argues that these principles can be applied in practice. They are complex and problematic but need to be considered in all community development work. Some of the principles are ecological principles which consist of holism, sustainability, diversity, and balanced development. There are also social justice and human rights principles, valuing the local and process principles. These principles are supported by case studies and in-depth discussion questions that explore community development in a changing global world. The author notes that the development of practice and application of these principles will depend on the context. The book is a balanced text for research and understanding of community development today. 

Becker, Howard S. “Tricks.” In Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You’re Doing It, 1-9. Chicago University Press, 1998. 

Becker argues that there are tricks to the trade of social science research. He shares these tricks with students and researchers of social sciences. He admits that the tricks he is introducing are not easy simple tricks. They make the process of researching harder but worth it. They are ways of thinking about what we know or want to know that help us make sense of data and formulate new questions based on our findings. Becker’s writing is clear, accessible and the story reference he uses makes the reading and understanding of tricks easier. The book is helpful not only to students of sociology or qualitative research but students of social sciences in general. 

Durkheim, E. “What is a social fact?” In The rules of the Sociological Method, 50-59. Sydney: The Free Press, 1982.  

Durkheim introduces the concept of social facts and defines them as things. They are things outside the individual. Social facts are also not products of our current generation. According to Durkheim, social facts are given, they are pre-existing. Therefore sociologists, in particular, should look for causes of social facts in social contexts. Looking for causes of social facts in individual action in isolation relegates sociological studies to being part of psychological or biological studies. This text serves as a critical introduction to research on society. It establishes sociology as a distinct field of the social sciences with solid foundations. It is essential for a beginner researcher.  

Foster, D.R. et al. “‘Researching Ourselves Back to life’: New Ways of Conducting Aboriginal Alcohol Research.” Drug and Alcohol Review 25, (May 2006): 213-217.

This article is based on survey research done by Aboriginal researchers for an Aboriginal community. According to the researchers, the research was unique in that it was conducted in aboriginal communities and aboriginal people planned and carried out the survey, analyzed the results and made a decision on the final report outlook. The authors believe that this grassroots way of doing research can be applied to Aboriginal communities and organizations. It has the potential to improve the quality of research not only on Aboriginal substance abuse but research on the Aboriginal people in general. This paper has lessons for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers especially its sensitivity to communities being researched.