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Internet resources for social research

The best of the Web                               Intute
Welcome to this guide to the best of              This booklet is brought to you by Intute,
the Web for Social Research.                      a free Internet service providing you with
In these pages you will find a selection           access to the very best Web resources
of some of the most useful websites for           for education and research, evaluated
students, lecturers and researchers of            and selected by a network of subject
Social Research.                                  specialists.
The selection is by no means exhaustive,
but it should give you a flavour of the
range of resources available on the               Expert advice
Internet for education and research.              Intute services are developed in
                                                  collaboration with staff from over seventy
Supporting your Internet                          universities, colleges and research
                                                  institutions across the UK – pooling
                                                  expertise to share nationally.
For those interested in exploring the wider       Your guide for this booklet is:
Web, we offer free Internet search and
training services for further and higher                       : social sciences
education via Intute – details of these can
                                                  – based at the Universities of Bristol and
be found at the end of the guide.
                                                  Birmingham, working in partnership with
                                                  the University of Exeter.

  Contents                                        Intute is funded by the Joint Information
                                                  Systems Committee (JISC) with support
  Social research methods                     1   from the ESRC and the Arts and
  Bibliographic databases                     2   Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
  Journals                                    4
  Papers/articles/reports                     5
  Datasets                                    6    Contact:
  Educational materials                       7
  Organisations and societies                 8
  Research projects/centres               10
                                                  Note: Intute was formerly known as the
  Government bodies                       11      Resource Discovery Network (RDN). Intute:
  Mailing lists                           12      Social Sciences comprises the former RDN
                                                  hubs, SOSIG and Altis.

Cover image right:
Liverpool victory. Copyright: Getty Images,       A PDF copy of this booklet can be
available from the Education Image Gallery:       downloaded from:                 
                                                  Internet resources for social research

Social research methods
Keep up to date on methods of conducting research

ESRC Research Methods Programme
The ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Research Methods
Programme aims to raise the standards of research methods across the UK
social science community. The Programme is built around a range of projects,
located across a number of UK higher education institutions, that attempt to
foster, support and promote new research, methodological understanding and
good practice. The Programme is based in the Centre for Census and Survey
Research at the University of Manchester. The site provides access to project
information, publications, events listings, training and course information and
current news.

ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
The centre works in collaboration with the ESRC Research Methods Programme
to provide a focal point for the identification, development and delivery of a
national training programme for research methods. Details of publications and
training events are available from the site.

Research Methods Knowledge Base
The Research Methods Knowledge Base is a free Web-based textbook offering
an introductory course in applied social research methods, created by Bill
Trochim, a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at
Cornell University. It covers the theory and practice of research, and topics such
as defining a research question, sampling, measurement, research design and
data analysis.

SRM Online
An excellent database of references to literature on social and behavioural
research methodology, statistical analysis and related computer software.

                Internet resources for social research

                Bibliographic databases
                Find references to journal articles, books, theses, reports…

                Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA)
                Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts on the Web is a database containing
                over 375,000 abstracts from over 500 journals worldwide covering health, social
                services, psychology, sociology, economics, politics, race relations and education.
                The database is available through Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA); contact
                your library to see if your institution provides access to this service.

                A good starting point for literature searching, COPAC is a freely available
                bibliographic catalogue of 24 of the major university research libraries in the UK
                as well as the British Library, National Library of Wales and National Library of
                Scotland. Users can connect to the Web interface or connect directly to the
                database using bibliographic management software to download references
                directly to their computers.

                                                         International Bibliography of the Social
                                                         Sciences (IBSS)
                                                         IBSS contains the bibliographic detail of articles,
                                                         books, reviews and the chapters from selected
                                                         multi-authored monographs. The database
                                                         contains over 2 million records covering
                                                         publications appearing between 1951 and the
                                                         present day. The database is free to all members
                                                         of UK higher and further education institutions
                                                         and access is provided through Athens. collections/IBSS/

                                                    Internet resources for social research

ISI Web of Knowledge Service for UK Education
Web of Knowledge has several databases of interest to social researchers,
including the Social Sciences Citation Index: a large bibliographic database of
a wide range of journals, the Journal Citation Reports: which provides
statistical data on the relative importance of journals within a subject area and
ISI Proceedings: an index of social science related conferences. You will need
to check if your institution subscribes to this service. Please note that in order to
use the service your Web browser must be configured to accept cookies.

zetoc Electronic Table of Contents
zetoc provides access to over 20 million journal articles and conference records
from a wide range of subject areas in science,
technology, medicine, engineering, business,
law, finance and the humanities. The zetoc alert
service offers a regular email update of tables
of contents or articles that match your subject

Index to Theses
A searchable listing of theses, some with
abstracts, accepted for higher degrees by
universities in Great Britain and Ireland since
1716. The database covers all subjects
including the social sciences.

                Internet resources for social research

                Directory of Open Access Journals
                The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides access to a growing
                collection of several thousand free full text scholarly journals covering all areas
                of the sciences, social sciences and humanities. It is possible to search by
                journal title or browse by subject. It is also possible to search for individual
                articles within the database.

                                               JSTOR is an online archive of scholarly journals,
                                               providing extensive back-runs of journals in the social
                                               sciences. Coverage starts with the very first issues
                                               and continues to a date between 2 to 5 years prior to
                                               current issues. Users can search and browse the
                                               full-text of the journals, and articles can be read
                                               online, or downloaded and printed. JSTOR is available
                                               to academic and research institutions via site-licences,
                                               users should contact their local library to check if their
                                               institution subscribes to the service.

                Qualitative Report
                The Qualitative Report (TQR) is an online journal dedicated to qualitative
                research and critical enquiry, which also serves as a forum and sounding board
                for researchers, scholars and practitioners.

                Social Research Update
                A quarterly electronic journal that covers new developments in social research.
                Each issue covers a different research methods topic spanning qualitative and
                quantitative methods and it is pitched at a level that can be appreciated by both
                novice and expert reader.

                                                  Internet resources for social research

ISER Publications and Working Papers
A large collection of publications and working papers, from the Institute for Social
and Economic Research (ISER), a research centre at the University of Essex
that specialises in the production and analysis of longitudinal data. Also includes
the European Panel Analysis Group (EPAG) working papers.

Social Science Research Network
The SSRN is composed of a number of specialised research networks to
encourage the early distribution of research results. Their eLibrary contains
abstracts of over 114,000 papers and over 86,000 full text documents (as well
as a number of fee based publications).

    Internet resources for social research

    Electronic access to large (and often previously inaccessible) collections of data

    2001 Census of Population Programme
    This JISC site provides a brief introduction to the Census and links to the
    individual support units that offer guidance on obtaining information about
    Census datasets, products and publications. Information specific to teachers,
    students, and trainers is also provided.

    CESSDA (Council of European Social Science Data Archives)
    CESSDA promotes the “acquisition, archiving and distribution of electronic data
    for social science teaching and research in Europe”. An integrated catalogue of
    the European archives is available as well as a clickable map of data archives all
    around the world.

    Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS)
    The ESDS provides access to major economic and social data via four specialist
    services, which all have their own websites. They are: ESDS Government,
    providing large-scale UK government surveys such as the General Household
    Survey and the Labour Force Survey; ESDS International, providing access to a
    range of international datasets; ESDS Longitudinal, for surveys such as the
    British Household Panel Survey and ESDS Qualidata, which provides access to,
    and support for, qualitative data sources. You will need to register to use each of
    these services, however once registered single sign-on access is available
    through Athens.

    UK Data Archive
    The UK Data Archive at the University of Essex hosts over 5,000 accessible
    computer-readable datasets in the social sciences and humanities. Users can
    search the catalogue and indexes for datasets by subject or keyword, and order
    data in a variety of formats and media, subject to approval.

                                                    Internet resources for social research

Educational materials
Find online material to support learning and teaching

The Question Bank: Social Surveys Online
Provides free access to questionnaires from major social surveys and associated
commentary to assist survey design. Surveys include the Census, the General
Household Survey, Labour Force Survey and British Social Attitudes
Survey. This resource also provides detailed methodological information about
these surveys.

Internet for Social Research Methods
One of the Intute Virtual Training Suite tutorials, a free online tutorial designed
to help students, lecturers and researchers improve their Internet information
literacy and IT skills. A key educational resource, which we recommend to
our users.

Exploring Online Research Methods in a Virtual Training Environment
“Exploring online research methods in a virtual training environment is an
ESRC-funded online training package designed to support researchers using
online research methods.”

Education Image Gallery
The Education Image Gallery is an extensive collection of 50,000 digital images,
which can be incorporated in your educational materials. Access is via ATHENS,
ask your library if they provide a subscription to this service.

Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences
Definitions of over a 1,000 terms in a range of social science disciplines,
including: sociology, criminology, political science and women’s studies.

Teaching Resources and Materials for Social Scientists (TRAMSS)
TRAMSS is intended to help teachers and students improve their research and
data analysis skills. The website has a tutorial, which shows you how to search
for and order data and relevant software and how to run analyses on exemplar

    Internet resources for social research

    Organisations and societies
    Most organisations now have their own website. Here are some examples …

    Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences
    The Academy is composed of academicians and the major learned societies in
    the social sciences. Details of members, publications and events are available
    from the site.

    Association for Qualitative Research
    The Association for Qualitative Research promotes the professional interests of
    qualitative research among practitioners and field personnel. You will find details
    of jobs, training courses and events, as well as articles and a members’
    discussion forum.

                                                     British Library
                                                     This is the website for the UK’s
                                                     national library. It “contains
                                                     comprehensive information
                                                     about the Library, the scope of
                                                     its collections, and how to use
                                                     its services, along with
                                                     supporting images and
                                                     appropriate sound samples”.

                                                    Internet resources for social research

British Academy
The national academy for the humanities and social sciences (there is now also
the Arts and Humanities Research Board or AHRB at
which funds research.). The British Academy publish a Guide which describes
the kinds of awards that are available from the Academy and the ARHB for
scholars in the humanities and social sciences. It also provides guidance on how
to apply for each kind of award. Also contains a list of publications and lectures.

ESRC Society Today
ESRC Society Today is a research tool
produced by the Economic and Social
Research Council, the UK’s leading research
funding and training agency addressing
economic and social concerns. The website
aims to bring together information about ESRC
funded research and its outputs, with a variety
of other data sources to offer a unique social
science research resource.                  

Social Research Association
The Social Research Association was founded in the UK in 1978 to “advance the
conduct, development and application of social research”. This website is a
useful starting point for all professional and lay social researchers. It includes the
Association’s Ethical Guidelines and Code of Practice for the safety of

     Internet resources for social research

     Research projects/centres
     Use the Web to keep up with the latest research

     National Centre for e-Social Science (NCeSS)
     NCeSS aims to raise awareness of, and expertise in, e-science within the social
     science research community. They provide training, information and support to
     social scientists with an interest in using these new technologies in their

     Evidence Network
     This is the website of the ESRC’s UK Centre for Evidence Based Policy and
     Practice (EBPP). The site aims to be a national focus point for EBPP and
     includes a reference bibliography, links to some databases and gateways in the
     social sciences, downloadable working papers on EBPP and information about
     their journal Evidence and Policy.

     ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme
     The Programme comprises a number of large-scale research projects and other
     related activities designed to “support research which will lead to improvements
     in the achievement of learners of all ages, in all sectors and contexts of
     education, training and lifelong learning throughout the UK”.

     ESRC Research Capacity Building Network
     The Research Capacity Building Network a part of the Economic and Social
     Research Council’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP). The
     aim of the project is “to facilitate the sharing of research skills, knowledge and
     expertise among social scientists and to assist the professional career
     development of individual researchers”. It is focused towards research in the
     field of education but its contents cover methodological and practical issues that
     are relevant to all social science researchers. Contains discussion boards,
     events, and funding opportunities.

                                                   Internet resources for social research

Government bodies
Public services and government information online

Direct.Gov is the official Internet gateway to UK government information for the
British public and forms part of the UK’s e-Government initiative, to deliver public
services directly via the Internet. Many UK government departments have
programmes of high quality research and development of potential interest to
social researchers.

National Archives: Records of the UK Government
The repository of the national archives for England and Wales. It was formed in
March 2003 from the amalgamation of the former Public Record Office and the
Historical Manuscripts Commission. This amazing collection spans 1000 years of
British history, from the Domesday Book to current government papers.

National Statistics Online
A must-view website. It offers summaries,
reports and detailed data on Britain’s economy,
population and society at national and local
level, many available free of charge.


             Internet resources for social research

             Mailing lists
             Great for networking with like-minded people

                                                      JISCmail provides tools for setting up and
                                                      running email discussion lists and is free to
                                                      members of the HE and FE community in
                                                      the UK. There are a number of lists for social
                                                      researchers and you can often browse the
                                                      archives of previous discussions. If there
                                                      isn’t a list already, you can easily set one up
                                                      yourself and invite others to join. Some

             Run by ESDS, gives information about seminars, datasets, developments,
             conferences and publications for those interested in the analysis of statistical,
             survey, historical, qualitative and administrative computer-readable data.

             An excellent to-the-point discussion list to increase awareness and debate about
             Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software. The list provides an
             instant forum for users and developers to air problems, offer opinions, argument
             and advice on the variety of packages in use.

             A list devoted to all aspects of qualitative research: methodological; theoretical
             and practical and is also intended to facilitate discussion of diverse qualitative
             research: interviewing; ethnography; participation observation; focus groups;
             biographical and life history studies.

Discover the best of the Web using Intute
The Internet can be a powerful tool for learning, teaching and research, offering a huge
range of resources and services. However, finding relevant information online can be a
daunting task, and issues of trust, quality and poor search skills are very real and significant
concerns – particularly in education and research contexts.

Intute exists to help students, teachers, researchers and librarians make sense of the Web
by providing access to the very best Internet resources for education and research, selected
and evaluated by a network of subject specialists.

             : social sciences
•   The Internet catalogue provides access to thousands of high-quality Internet resources,
    selected and described by subject specialists, and covers all key areas of social

•   The Virtual Training Suite offers free Internet training with a set of “teach-yourself”
    online tutorials, designed to help students develop their Internet research skills.

•   Free support materials for universities and colleges, such as flyers, posters, leaflets and
    presentations as well as a range of “best of the Web” subject booklets.

•   The Social Science conferences and events database allows you to browse through
    professional development opportunities by subject.

                                                   Getting involved with Intute
                                                   •    Sign up for a personal MyIntute account,
                                                        which provides weekly email updates of
                                                        recently reviewed websites and allows
                                                        you to save resources of interest.

                                                   •    Working with Intute. Join our community
                                                        of users of online resources by
                                                        suggesting sites for the database or
                                                        embedding Intute services in your own
                                                        websites and Virtual Learning
                                                        Environments using our sophisticated
                                                        MyIntute Include services.

July 2006

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