Research Instructions

So you’d like to write a term paper or give a presentation? After you have decided on a topic, the first thing you need to do is to find the relevant literature. This section provides you with an overview of the relevant research databases you can search through and includes information on how to search through them.

The following databases are crucial for the social sciences: 

Bibliographic Databases

wiso-net is the major German compilation of references in economics and social sciences.

Sociological Abstracts is a monthly updated database with bibliographical information on entries from all areas of sociology and neighbouring disciplines.

Web of Sciences (ISI) offers approximately 3.5 million international title references in the humanities and social sciences as well as related natural sciences such as social medicine and psychology.

Die Internationale Bibliographie der geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur (IBZ) is an index of bibliographical information of journal articles and journals from all areas of science that have been published since 1983.

Periodicals Index Online (PIO) is a historical index of journals encompassing the years 1665–1995.

Full Bibliographies

Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists every publication which was released in Germany.

Verzeichnis lieferbarer Bücher: This is a catalogue of the German bookselling trade and includes over a million available book titles.

Global Books in print: A catalogue of German and Spanish titles.

Full-Text Databases 

Full-text databases are interesting for general research purposes but are not so relevant if you are trying to gather bibliographic information.

JStor usually offers full journal articles but does not give access to more recent issues.

Academic Search Premier is an extensive database which encompasses various scientific journals, including many full texts.

Sowiport is a social sciences database, especially recommended for students in their first semesters.

Other databases for the social sciences and their internet links are included on a designated website run by the University Library: Fachinformationen Sozialwissenschaften.

The abovementioned databases require a license but are accessible for free from the campus network. If you want to do research at home, you have to download and configure the VPN connection (which allows you to access the campus network).

Research in Data Pools 

The following search engines can help you find data from research projects and official statistics:

GESIS-Data Catalogue Search includes the research data and descriptions of more than 5,000 surveys from the field of social sciences.

Missy (Microdata Information System) is a database which encompasses official statistics and surveys from both the EU and Germany.

Many journals offer book reviews – here you can investigate whether books are evaluated positively. The most relevant review journals are:

Soziologische Revue: Review journal which gives an overview of German sociological literature; you can find this in the Library of the Faculty of Social Science in BE-21.

Neue Politische Literatur: Review journal of publications in politics, history, political sociology and constitutional law; you can find this literature in the Library of the Faculty of Social Science in BA-90.

Das Argument: Journal for philosophy and social science; every issue puts an emphasis on a different topic and includes an extensive review section; you can find this in the Library of the Faculty of Social Science in BA-5.

Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie: One of the major journals for sociology which also includes a good review section; you can find this in the Library of the Faculty of Social Science in BE-3.

querelles-net. Rezensionszeitschrift für Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung: An open access journal offering academic discussions of new and contemporary works, especially from German-speaking countries.

HSozKult: Humanities. Sozial- und Kulturgeschichte is a communication and information network with online-accessible reviews and an overview of conferences and journal indexes.

Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews: The journal consists of book reviews and commentaries which critically discuss newly published sociological research.

Current Sociology: The journal publishes both original articles and commentaries on ongoing academic debates within international sociology; you can find this in the Library of the Faculty of Social Science in BE-59.

Gender and Society: The journal publishes articles in the fields of sociology and gender studies along with a large book review section; you can find this in the Library of the Faculty of Social Science in BK-45.

In addition, have a look at the references of central monographs or articles dealing with the corresponding subject, since you might find other interesting publications!

Additionally, browsing major journals helps you keep up to date.

The search masks differ in databases and research catalogues. Even though the basic idea is the same, you may have to consult the help sites in order to figure out how to use different symbols and features.

Advanced Search: It often makes sense to start here directly, because you can search for broad terms or more focused terms by applying restrictions.

Keyword List: It is helpful to think of synonyms and key words for searched titles and topics. If you type in a keyword, it is possible to see similar keywords by pressing the "index" button on the right.

Truncation Signs: These are symbols which replace one or more letters. They are different depending on the database, but you can find them via help tools. An example is the term "wom$n" which will generate results including the word "woman" as well as "women".

Conjunctions: AND, OR or NOT may further extend or limit the search.

UB Bochum-Link-Solver: This tool on university computers – or installed on your home computer – helps you find out whether the books or journals you found in the databases are available in Bochum, available online or accessible through interlibrary loans.

Here you can find out whether the books and journals you looked up are available in Bochum or surrounding cities.

OPAC (OnlinePublicAccessCatalog) encompasses the collection of the RUB and departmental libraries in Bochum as well as neighbouring regions. OPAC includes book and journal titles, monograph collections, CD-ROM and DVD titles, but no single articles.

EZB (Electronic Journals Library) offers you quick access to academic full texts on the internet. The journals listed here are organised by subject. You can directly download (most of) the full texts in PDF format (depending on the university’s license).

ZKM (Central Catalogue of Monographies) contains the titles (no journals) of the departmental libraries up until 1998 which are not included in OPAC. We recommend looking for the sources in OPAC first and then using ZKM afterwards, if necessary.

Diss-Kat (Catalogue of dissertations and university publications) lists dissertations and university publications from 1960 to 1996 which are not included in OPAC.

E-Diss (Electronic RUB dissertations) offers every electronically published dissertation as a full text for downloading.

Bochumer Verbundskatalog lets you search the different catalogues of every library in Bochum.

KVK (Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue) is a meta-catalogue, encompassing more than 500 million books and journals from library and book trade catalogues worldwide. When a title is not available in OPAC and Bochum, you can use this catalogue to find out where a copy is available and possibly order it via interlibrary loan. You can search for a book in North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), Germany or even worldwide.

E-Book-Portal of RUB: Here you can find out whether a book was digitalised.

DigiBib: The digital library of NRW offers access to many library catalogues and databases of participating universities, as well as electronic interlibrary loans.

ViBSoz: This virtual departmental library of the social sciences gives access to electronic and conventional information sources relevant for all social science fields.

Library of the Ruhr is part of the House of the History of the Ruhr (Clemensstr. 17-19, 44789 Bochum). You can also find the Institute for Social Movements and its collection and archive of social movements here.

LexisNexis is a full-text database with several thousand articles from daily and weekly newspapers and magazines.

Public Library

Zeitschriftenarchiv Dortmund

If books or journal (articles) are not available in Bochum libraries, you can order them via interlibrary loan. In order to do so, you have to register on the interlibrary loan website with your student/library ID and password. Once you have selected the book/article, you have to enter the TAN number which is available at the UB for €1.50 (the price for the loan of a book or article).

If you need more help with your research, check out the following RUB links:

Questions via Mail/Web Form.

You can also find more information on doing research, planning a study, and collecting and analysing data on the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences website, which offers access to more databases and portals.