SOC 433: SLTD Topics: Gender & Social Policy in Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Instructors: Assoc. Prof. Mark Jackson, Reference & Information Literacy Librarian 

  • Introduction to Google Scholar for finding scholarly information GOOGLE SCHOLAR []
  • Introduction to the Bloomfield College Library Databases []
  • Introduction to Fine Tuning Google for NGO, Government and Organizations reports
Learning Outcomes:
  • You will be able to find academic scholarly articles using Google Scholar
  • You will be able to use the library databases to find scholarly academic articles
  • You will able to accurately cite the articles you find
  • You will be able to locate on the Web NGO, Government and Organizations reports
My professors want me to find "scholarly" articles in "peer-reviewed" publications? What do they mean?

When your professor requires "scholarly" sources, what does he or she mean? Usually, a scholar is a person with advanced degree credentials (often a PhD), is often affiliated with an institution of higher learning (college or university), researches a similar topic for most of his or her professional life (for example, a study of ancient Egypt, early childhood education, the American Civil War, etc.), and who has had articles published in journals or chapters in books. Often, a scholar will have authored a number of monographs (a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author).

Background sources of information:  Sex workers will probably have different characteristics from country to country. Gender does not mean just female. There are male sex workers too. I will need solid background statistical information. The best sources are government and organizations. Organizations will often draw their stats from a governmental source. For much if my background information, I use


Provides a search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles. It is a fabulous starting point for the first stage of your research. 

For our test search of Google Scholar, I have chosen the topic Social Policy and sex work, often in the form of prostitution. My question is: Is Amsterdam's Social Policy Towards Sex Workers a Model for the United States? One possible area for research is the creation of "red light" zones. Can social policy (regulation/creation of legal prostitution "red light" districts) mediate the negative aspects of prostitution and sex work. Does legalization reduce human sex trafficking, reduce disease, etc. 

Using Google Scholar, I searched for social policy sex workers amsterdam. 

There are many reports available on the Web. prostitution legalization .org 
prostitution legalization  type:.pdf

Why use databases? Isn't everything on Google?

Databases provide authoritative, research articles that are usually NOT available on the Web. These articles are from journals. A journal is a type of periodical that contains scholarly articles written by specialists aimed at other specialists in a particular field. An article in a scholarly journal is usually documented with footnotes and/or a bibliography. For the most part, scholarly journals are published monthly or quarterly and contain little advertising or few, if any, color illustrations. Also referred to as "Peer Reviewed" or "Refereed," a scholarly journal features articles that usually contain original research (qualitative or quantitative) and have been reviewed and selected by other scholars in order to be published.

Books are only one part of your research project. Often you will need to find a scholarly article, an article written by a scholar or professional addressing a specific topic, usually written for other scholars (or potential scholars) or professionals. Because of economic and copyright considerations you will usually NOT find these types of articles on the Web. You will need to use a database to find the article. Journals contain research articles or literary criticism that is usually more up-to-date than books.

Bloomfield College Library Databases [] - Three suggested databases for your research: Academic Search Premier - ProQuest - JSTOR - One suggested way to begin is by using a subject search.

How can I evaluate what I find?

Finally, we find a tremendous amount of information on the Web. Unfortunately, much of it is not suitable for academic writing. Whatever our uses for the information we are trying to find (health issues, buying a car, a new car safety seat for our children, or information about education) we need to EVALUATE what we find. Opinionated, ill-informed, outdated, and erroneous and incorrect information may not only get us a lower grade on a paper, it may be injurious to our health!  

The Library of Cornell University has developed a short and concise guide to evaluating Web pages, Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages []. This guide will help you to evaluate whether or not to use information, either for academic purposes or personal life decisions.