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*SOCI 1160 Intro to Social Problems (Charleston): Argument Papers - Research Help

Reqs for Sources & Citing

"You must use at least one outside source to support your argument. You may use a statistic, relevant research from a scholar or related work from an activist. All sources must be properly cited. And no, Wikipedia does not count as a source in this case."

[above from assignment description]

Finding "A Statistic"

TO CITE A STATISTICAL TABLE: Scroll to the bottom of the page, and you'll see citations in APA and MLA style.

Finding "Work from an Activist"

Activists are often affiliated with activist organizations - to limit your Googling to organizational sites, try something like below:

REMEMBER: You should evaluate the credibility of what anyone is saying, whether they are a scholar or an activist - From where/whom are they getting their information? Are they citing their sources? Does their personal bias impact the credibility of what they are saying?

Mandy - your Sociology Librarian

Please email Mandy at to ask questions or to set up one-on-one appointments.

Finding "Research from a Scholar"

Want Scholarly Articles?

To find scholarly articles, try searching this one first:

  • Academic Search Complete - after doing a search, at the left of the screen checkbox Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals limit

This one might also be good to search:


Let's pretend this was part of the prompt you were supposed to respond to in your Argument Paper: Pharrell Williams is a commercially successful singer-songwriter, rapper and producer. In a recent interview he brought up the idea of a “new black.” He stated: “The new black doesn’t blame other races for our issues…the new black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation, it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you and you’ve got to pick which side you’re gonna be on.”

Possible keyword combination...   

(racism OR "race discrimination" OR "institutional racism") AND (denial OR "color blind*" OR agency OR "self efficacy")

*Also checkout this link for more help on creating effective search strategies.

Many of the above databases contain both scholarly AND non-scholarly or "popular" sources - the tutorial below gives strategies for discerning whether an article is SCHOLARLY or POPULAR:


Want Scholarly Books? 

Pretty much all the books we have in our library are based on research by a scholar.  Click here to search the GIL-Find Catalog to find our books - linked here.  Also checkout this link for more help on finding books in our library.

"Wikipedia does not count as a source"

Because anyone can add or change content, there is an inherent lack of reliability and stability to Wikipedia.  Even the founder of Wikipedia has stressed that Wikipedia may not be suitable for academic uses, saying, "It is pretty good, but you have to be careful with it. It's good enough knowledge, depending on what your purpose is."

How might I use Wikipedia for this research assignment, since I can't cite it specifically as a source?

As a starting point to: 

(1) get some background and familiarize yourself with a topic, and also

(2) find the sources they cited - all Wikipedia articles end with References and/or Further Readings sections that point you to additional sources. These often include more authoritative sources like books and journal articles that you can find in the library or online. This can be a great way to start identifying sources for your paper. 

*Help on how to find articles and find books listed in Wikipedia references.*

"Sources must be Properly Cited"

Your instructor says use whatever citation style you're comfortable with - below are links to citation style guides, and checkout this link for more help on how to avoid plagiarizing.