Sociological Abstracts offers access to the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database provides in-depth and non-evaluative abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,800 serial publications, and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. The database backfile dates to 1952.
Many records from key journals in sociology, added to the database since 2002, also include the references cited in the bibliography of the source article. Each individual reference may also have links to an abstract and/or to other papers that cite that reference; these links increase the possibility of finding more potentially relevant articles.
The international distribution of the journals indexed in Sociological Abstracts is as follows:
North America 60%
South and Central America 1%
Western Europe 31%
Eastern Europe 4%
Australia and New Zealand 1%
Asia, Middle East, Africa 3%
The indexing practices of Sociological Abstracts provide value-added features that include professional document selection, extensive quality control, and three levels of indexing.
Classification Codes indicate a broad subject area and represent the major focus of the article. Sociological Abstracts identifies 29 broad areas of sociology and includes 95 specific sub-headings. The classification codes can be searched by numeric code or word.
Descriptors are assigned using the Thesaurus of Sociological Indexing Terms. Currently in its sixth edition; the Thesaurus was implemented in 1986 after two years of research and development.
The Identifiers field has been used since 1998 to provide vocabulary that is not accessible through the controlled terminology of the Thesaurus. The natural language terms found in the Identifiers field reflects new or developing concepts in sociology that are not yet added to the Thesaurus. Prior to 1998, the Identifiers field was used to provide an "abstract of the abstract," and listed the dependent and independent variables under investigation, population, methodology, and geographic location of study.
The selection policy of Sociological Abstracts classifies the journals as Core, Priority, and Selective.
CORE journals are published by sociological associations, groups, faculties, and institutions, and/or have the term “sociology” in their titles. All substantive articles appearing in these journals are abstracted and indexed, and citations are provided to the book reviews published therein.
PRIORITY journals are drawn from related social sciences, e.g., anthropology, communication, education, medicine, political science, that consistently address topics of sociological relevance, and in which sociologists regularly publish. More than 50% of the substantive articles appearing in these journals are selected for coverage.
SELECTIVE sources include journals from related social sciences that occasionally publish works by sociologists. Less than 50% of the substantive articles appearing in these journals are covered.
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