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PSC/SOC 340/JS 504: Social Science Research Methods

Explanation of the parts of a scientific research article, how to read scientific articles, books about the research process, how to do a literature review, forming hypotheses, research design, research instruments, finding statistics & survey results.

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Searching for Statistics within articles

Helpful Hints:

  1. Sometimes statistics are buried within the text of a journal, magazine, or newspaper. 
    • As you research, take the time to skim through your findings to discover potential sources of statistics. 
    • Follow leads in the articles to locate other statistics. 
  2. Look in books and articles at graphs, charts, and diagrams to find statistical information. 
  3. Sometimes statistics are hidden within other articles but can't simply be found by searching "statistics." 
    • When searching library databases, combine your topic search with a subject search for statistics.

Search Words:

Add these keywords to your topic searches to focus on statistics for your topic:

  • Statistics
  • Data
  • Numbers
  • Trends
  • Polling
  • Figures
  • Tables

Search Examples:

  • Immigration AND Statistics
  • Global Warming AND Trends

Recommended Databases to Search

Full Search Video Guide

Database Search Tips

Use Boolean Logic (AND, OR, NOT) to combine search concepts.


TOO FEW hits: OR to add synonyms; individual key words, NOT whole phrases; drop concept(s) with AND; truncate; consider other databases.


TOO MANY hits:  AND another concept into search; use other available limiters in the database.


Truncation symbols (?, *, !, +) will provide variant spelling after the root word. 


A wildcard (?, *) is a character that may be used in a search term to represent one or more other characters.

Do an advanced search and take advantage of the fields provided.

Use the subject headings/descriptors to find additional citations on your topic.  If that does not work, use the keyword search.

You can also use limits (e.g., publication year, language, words in the title, etc.) to narrow your retrieval. 
Set up an auto alert/RSS feed to monitor the research.  

Using JSTOR Advanced Search - PolySci example from Cochrane-Woods Library

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