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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sociology 100 Introduction to Sociology : Suggested Subject Headings

Chinese resources for the course Sociology 100 Introduction to Sociology

3. Why Bother with Subject Headings?

It’s true that you can find sources on a topic by doing keyword searches. But if you limit yourself to keyword searching, you are likely to miss important material on your topic that uses other terms. If you only need two or three books, you can probably find what you need by doing keyword searches, but if you are doing historical research, you can’t afford to miss critical material on your topic. For a comprehensive subject search, search with subject headings as well as keywords.

A good way to identify subject headings for a topic is to do a keyword search in the online catalog using terms you think describe the topic and try to identify a few relevant books. Look at the full record for those books to see what subject headings were used, then do another search on those headings.

As a rule of thumb, use fairly broad headings, as well as the specific ones that describe your topic, in order to make sure you haven't inadvertently eliminated relevant material that is contained within works of larger scope. Most likely you will find multiple headings to describe your topic, and you should use all of them. You can narrow your search in the online catalog by combining subject headings (as a phrase) with keywords, using the “Advanced Search” option.

Suggested Subject Headings

Subject headings can be used in "browse search" to find titles that have the same subject headings.  Here are some examples:

Economics -- Sociological aspects

Economic development -- Sociological aspects

Education -- Social aspects

Educational sociology

Ethnic Relations

Feminist theory

Markets -- Sociological aspects

Museums -- Social aspects

Political sociology

Reference books, Chinese -- Sociology

Religion and sociology

Social movements


Sociology -- China

Sociology -- Economic aspects

Sociology -- Methodology

Sociology -- Philosophy