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Social Sciences: Using Social Sciences databases

A collection of information resources and guidance for Social Sciences students

Searching databases - video guide

Featured database

 PsycINFO is a psychology database. It can be really useful for topics such as child development, motivation and mental health. All 3 Universities at Medway have access to this database.

PsycINFO logo

Featured database

Mass Observation Online is one of many resources available for you to use.

Below is a tutorial on the interface prepared by Tom Derricks for Adam Matthews Digital on the Mass Observation website.

Introduction - using databases

Databases are specialist tools to help you locate useful information for your assignments.

 In Social Sciences there are a broad range of databases containing journal articles, newspaperscase law, multimedia, statistics and theses. How much use you make of them during your studies is down to you.

Help with using databases is available - please consult the Skills and Workshops tab or send me an email to book a 1-2-1 tutorial. 

Accessing databases through your university

Each university maintains a list of databases which can be accessed by students and staff. The links on these pages are checked and updated regularly.

  • University of Greenwich - go to the My Learning page in the Portal and select Online databases and academic journals.
  • University of Kent - Use the e-resources A-Z list from the University library webpages.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University - log in to LibrarySearch and select Find Databases A-Z on the home page (left-hand column).

Key databases for the social sciences

Key databases for the social sciences

Some databases can be extremely useful across a range of social science disciplines. You may wish to use these in conjunction with the discipline-specific suggestions in the boxes below.

  • Academic Search Complete (available via Kent and Greenwich): Searches through the contents of over 5500 academic, social sciences, humanities, general science, education and multi-cultural journals.

  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (available via Kent): An in-depth social science database, covering many social science disciplines, but with a particular focus on anthropology, economics, political science and sociology.

  • SCOPUS (available via Kent and Greenwich): A multidisciplinary database indexing content from over 20,000 titles.

  • Web of Science (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU): Despite its name, this databases indexes over 8,000 journals from all subjects (including social sciences) published from 1970 onward. It also gives citation data.

See also the Legal Information page of this guide, which covers sources for law.

Databases for sociology, social policy and social research

Additional databases for sociology, social policy and social research

  • EconLit (available via Kent): An authoritative index and full text tool for key economics journals and books, provided by the American Economic Association.

  • Statista (available via Kent): Does not cover journal articles, but is a very valuable database. It pulls together statistics and data sets from many fields and sources, including statistics, forecasts, studies, dossiers and industry reports and makes them available as charts or tables.

  • Zetoc (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU): Mainly a current awareness service from data provided by the British Library. It includes searchable details of thousands of journal titles and conference proceedings covering all subject areas from 1993 onwards. Personal current awareness services based on table of contents information from individually selected journal titles or selected keywords are also available from Zetoc Alert and Zetoc RSS.

Databases for social work

Additional databases for social work

  • ASSIA (available via CCCU): Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts) is aimed at practitioners, researchers and students in the caring professions. The focus is English-language journals covering health and social care from social science perspectives.

  • CINAHL (available via Greenwich, Kent and CCCU): Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature covers the top nursing and allied health literature, including journals, books and standards of practice.

  • Community Care Inform (avalable via Kent and Greenwich): An online reference tool for professionals working with children, young people and their families.

  • Research in Practice (available via Kent): Evidence-based resources for health and social care, including briefings, practice tools and customer guides. You willl need to create an account the first time you use this site.

  • Social Policy and Practice (available via Kent and CCCU): Covers public and social policy, public health, homelessness, housing, crime, law and order, families, children and older people. It has strong coverage of "grey" (i.e. not formally published) literature, e.g. reports, surveys and statistics.

Databases for criminology and criminal justice

Additional databases for criminal justice and criminology

  • Criminal Justice Abstracts (available via Kent): An important index/abstracting database for this subject area.

  • ERIC (available via Kent and CCCU): An American database for Education, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, which also contains some articles relating to criminology and criminal justice.

Databases for psychology

Additional databases for psychology

  • PsycARTICLES (available via Kent, Greenwich and CCCU): A full text article service for a wide range of journals published by the American Psychological Association and other psychology publishers.

  • PsycINFO (available via Kent, Greenwich and CCCU): A large index to psychological literature from 1806 to the present. It offers a much more in-depth search than PsycARTICLES, but you won't always find the complete text.