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Topical Guides: Social Sciences Research

Social Sciences Research > 2: Getting Started

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2A: Types of Resources

A portal or gateway site is the best place to begin research. These sites, which are intended to serve as "jumping off" points, will lead the researcher to a variety of useful sources that have been selected because of their relevance or quality. A portal site may include thousands of links on a wide range of topics, or may be very specific in scope and point to a small number of resources.

Portal sites may allow keyword searching, provide topical, hierarchical browsing (drilling down) or both search and browse capabilities. Another useful starting point for research is the search engine, particularly those that are subject-specific.

2B: Examples


A comprehensive and fast-growing online library and portal of legal resources for use by legal professionals, consumers and small businesses. Includes a link to LawCrawler, its search engine for legal material on the Web.

Political Information.com

A search engine for politics, policy and political news.


Provides information sources for mental health information, as well as providing annotated guides to useful Web sites, newsgroups, and mailing lists in mental health, psychology, social work, and psychiatry. The site is maintained and overseen by a Dr. John Grohol.

RFE: Resources for Economists

Links to over 1,000 Web sites of interest to economists with a search box to help identify items on the Web by keyword. Types of resources listed are: dictionaries, data sites, organizatinons, teaching materials and more.

Sage Research Methods Online (OSU access)

Provides the most comprehensive picture available today of research methods (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods)across the social and behavioural sciences.


2C: How to Find More

The Internet Public Library Subject Collections (IPL)

Core internet resources are arranged by discipline and then by more specific subject area. An option is also available to find associations or serials related to the subject. These sites have been selected and organized by librarians. A link to pathfinders on very specific topics is also available.

Search Engine Guide

This guide indexes over 3,000 directories and search engines. Organized by category and searchable by keyword.


  Use Political Information.com to find information on campaign finance reform.

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Pop Quiz

Portal sites are useful for:

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