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SOC 105 (Niuatoa) FA20

Helpful Suggestions!

Use your research topic, research question, and/or thesis statement to brainstorm keywords and search terms.

Keywords are Critical!

  • Keep them brief and concise.
  • Spelling counts!
  • Use "quotation marks" to keep words together in a specific order--good for phrases
  • Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT to join terms/keywords
    • AND gives fewer results
    • OR gives more results

1. Sample topic: 

  • "human trafficking" AND children
  • "human trafficking" AND children OR teenagers

2. Brainstorm related terms: slavery, teenagers, adolescents, types of trafficking: sex, labor, organ, illegal adoption...

3. Brainstorm aspects of your topic: social justice, human rights, policy, sweatshops sex work, sex tourism...


Use different combination of terms in library databases to find the most usefulrelevant sources.‚Äč


EBSCOhost is a database of millions of news & magazine articles, scholarly journal articles, eBooks, & videos.

  • Try multiple searches with different combos of keywords
  • "Phrase searching" is great to search for specific phrases
  • Use the limiter tools on the left to limit to Scholarly Journals and to last 10 years.

Sample Searches:


JSTOR is a database of HIGHLY scholarly journal articles and chapters from eBooks published by universities.

  • Try multiple search with different combos of keywords
  • "Phrase searching" is great to search for specific phrases
  • From the Advanced Search field, type in keywords 

Sample Search:

(After clicking, add keywords to narrow your search & limit to Sociology Journals on left.)

Check out some of MiraCosta's News & Controversial Issues databases!

Also check out Databases by Subject for Gender & Ethnic Studies, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), Health & Medicine, and more!


Here is a list of MiraCosta's 20+ News & Controversial Issues or here are some of the most popular. All of the following include Scholarly/Academic peer-reviewed journals: