OSU Navigation Bar

The Ohio State University

OSU Libraries

Topical Guides: Social Sciences Research

Social Sciences Research > 1: About

Previous|Guide Home|Next

1A: About Social Sciences Research

Different indexers classify what fits into the "Social Sciences" differently. Many will lump humanities and social sciences together. Some disciplines within the social sciences, such as politics or ethnic studies, are closely allied with disciplines generally categorized as humanities (such as history). Thus, the line between the humanities and the social sciences will sometimes blur. For our purposes, the social sciences encompass: politics, ethnic and gender studies, psychology, sociology, law, government, criminology, and geography. Business and economics could be considered to be social sciences, but are included in a separate topical guide for this class. Education is a social science but is covered in a separate topical guide.

1B: Of Particular Note for Online Research:

As with the humanities, the Web is an important place for finding primary sources. Primary sources provide the foundation for research in humanities and social sciences (see page 4 for more detail). In the social sciences, primary resources are often statistical data, maps, reports from political, governmental and non-profit agencies. They might also include personal narratives from individuals with a unique social experience such as imprisonment, an arranged marriage, etc. Government agencies are increasingly publishing data and reports online. Legislation and related news is easier to find online. Even older texts, decisions, and related reports are being digitized, and are available online; although access to these reports generally requires a special library subscription. The Web has also opened a new possibility for primary research with the ability to conduct survey research online.

The social sciences tend to be well organized online. There are many portals, search engines and other finding aids available for specific fields within the social sciences on the Web.


Use USA.gov to find a profile of Franklin County, OH.

[Links open in new browser window.]

Pop Quiz

The Web is good for finding what types of information related to social science research?

Correct answer: [NOTE: Score is not recorded]

Previous|Guide Home|Next

© 2013, The Ohio State University Libraries