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Professor Hohl - Soc. 102 - Marriage and the Family: Search Strategies

Background Information


In addition to your textbook, a discipline specific Dictionary or Encyclopedia may help you define a sociological theory. 

Go to the library's electronic database Gale Virtual Reference Center to find background articles on Sociological concepts. 

Writing a Theoretical-Based Essay

For this assignment, your thesis statement is an assertion about a topic through the lens of an established sociological theory studied in class. You will be explaining a social phenomenon with the support of an established theory.


General Topic = Uneven distribution of household chores in American marriages

Conflict Theory Approach:

Gender inequality in American marriage persists, as evidenced by a documented uneven split of the household chores and child rearing duties.

Social Exchange Theory Approach:

The documented uneven split of couples' household chores and childrearing duties stems from a complex "cost-benefit" negotiation between spouses.

Search Strategies

Search Strategies: using keywords, truncation, and synonyms:

Relevant keywords are necessary for effective research.  Use your thesis statement to help you select useful keywords. 

You can start by taking keywords from your thesis statement, for example:

                  My Research Question. Underline the Key Words

The documented uneven split of couples' household chores and childrearing duties stems from a complex "cost-benefit" negotiation between spouses.

But don't stop there! Research is a process of trial and error, and often you won't get the results you want on your first attempts. There are two important ways to develop additional keywords that you should know about:

1. Use synonyms and related concepts: think of other words that mean the same or similar things as the words in your question. For example, the following words might be used: married people, unmarried couples, same-sex couples, childcare, women's work, household maintenance, housekeeping, home - social aspects, sexual division of labor, occupational segregation, women - socialization. These are just a few! 

2. Use truncation: the computer will locate alternative endings for a word when you place an asterisk -- the * symbol (shift eight on the keyboard) -- at end of the root of a word. For example, if I use child* the computer will search child AND children.

When searching, try different combinations of keywords. If you get too many results (for example, in a Google search), add more words to your search; if you get too few results (for example, when searching for books), use fewer keywords.

Now you're ready to begin your research.

TIP! Use Subject Headings to Guide Your Term Selection

Example of Subject Headings in the Catalog











Example of Subject Headings in a Database



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