Sociology - Recommended Sources

Audio Visual Resources

This fantastic resource has captured UK terrestrial TV and radio programmes from 1998 onwards for anyone in UK universities to watch for free. You can create playlists and clips to embed in presentations, as well as putting in requests for recording. Look out for all the useful documentaries. (Not available to anyone outside the UK.)

Key Starters for Essays and Dissertations

An excellent starting point for researching a wide variety of topics in sociology. Criminology and education topics are also covered in the 1,800 entries which all point you to further reading too.

The British Social Attitudes survey has been measuring and tracking changes in people's social, political and moral attitudes since 1983. We have the print versions in stock at 303.380941/BRI but for convenience, you can access comparative data and reports since 2010 via this site.

A variety of reference works, including dictionaries, which tutors may well prefer to Wikipedia, and it even tells you how to set out a reference to what you find. Try out the 'Mind Map' option to see how your keyword links to others - useful for essay planning and dissertation work (use the arrow next to Basic Search to get to it).

Oxford Sociology Handbooks offer thorough introductions and a survey of the current state of research in key topics such as class, culture, migration, poverty, the body etc. Chapters review key issues and major debates and indicate how the debates might evolve.

Over 240 unlimited access in-depth guides to current and classic research across a range of subject areas. If you can't access something via this site, put the book title into the Portsmouth catalogue instead as we have previously bought some titles via Ebook Central.

Access the full text of books about quantitative and qualitative research methods and many more social science research topics.

Specialist e-resources

Explore 20 collections of documents, including minutes of meetings and conferences, press releases, fliers, brochures, press clippings, US government memoranda and reports, private correspondence, surveys and photos.

Themes covered include: childhood and family, food, the body, women, dress and fashion, theatre, animals, work, leisure and consumption etc. Each theme goes from antiquity through to the 21st century giving you a vast selection of online chapters to access. You can search by time or place as well as by theme.

Disability in the Modern World: History of a Social Movement encompasses an international set of resources to enrich study in a wide range of disciplines from media studies to philosophy.

The official UK body with the mandate to challenge discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment, and protect and promote human rights. 

• Gallup 

Surveys of American public opinion. There is also a section which covers countries across the world.

Explore primary sources for gender history, women's suffrage, the feminist movement, the men's movement, the body, domesticity and the family. The records available include some from pressure groups giving details of 20th century lobbying and activism.


Use this site to find Government information from departments, publications or statistics. 
H.M. Treasury is particularly useful for publications and statistics.

The first place to look for authoritative UK government information. The Inside Government section has links to all major departments such as the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, plus No. 10 and the Cabinet Office.

Search or browse one of the most detailed primary sources for the history of Britain and its former colonies. Reports from military officers serving abroad are included, as well as Command Papers, Bills, Committee reports. Hansard is available from 1803. (See UK Parliament link if you need more recent papers.)

• Ipsos MORI 

Go to the Political Monitor and Political Polling sections for UK public opinion data relevant to Politics courses.

UK public opinion data.

A key UK organisation which seeks to address problems caused by poverty, poor housing/homelessness and an ageing society, plus a broad range of other social issues. Choose Reports from the Our Work section at the bottom of the site to access a wide range of useful reports dating from 1994 onwards.

A key source about daily life in the 20th century. You can look at topic collections (1938-65) on juvenile delinquency, holidays, leisure, industry etc., or view diary entries (1939-51) and day surveys. File reports (1937-1972) cover subjects such as propaganda, morale, popular culture, shopping, sex, fashion and much more.

Britain's leading independent social research institute. Research covers all areas of social policy. Reports are produced in the following areas: Equality & Diversity, Children, Schools & Families, Health & Wellbeing, Social Inclusion, Crime & Justice, Income & Work and Social & Political Attitudes

Access the daily record of debates in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords right up to the present (the Weekly Information Bulletin, business papers, Committee publications and Register of Members’ Interests are also available). Includes Hansard.

• YouGov 

Public opinion from over 350,000 volunteers from across the UK.


• Eurostat 

Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union and its task is to provide the European Union with statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions.

The best place to find a wide range of statistics from across all EU countries.

The World Bank’s one-stop shop for gender information, providing data from a variety of sources.

Data about UK households collected by the UK Government.

This gives a wide range of statistics on population, education, (un)employment, agriculture, industry, motor vehicles, railways, TV and radio etc. 

Data can be viewed as PDF (downloadable) or Excel format which can then be exported. When you use the search box beware - it is not just searching this source but the whole of Palgrave's e-books (which we have bought via Ebook Central where applicable). You can narrow down to this resource by using Advanced Search and selecting International Historical Statistics in the Book Collection box. Click the Reference Products button if you want to get back to the stats home page quickly.

Find statistics for local areas in the UK on a wide range of subjects, including population, crime, health and housing.


A useful place for locating official statistics from regional organisations as well as individual countries.

Authoritative data going back to 1878 from the United States Census Bureau. For earlier years data is available via PDF or Zip files but more recent years have Excel spreadsheets available to download.

If you need statistics about the USA, this is the place to look.

Whilst the UK data sets cover such areas as employment, and family expenditure, the international data sets from major bodies such as the IMF, OECD and World Bank are well worth exploring – often giving information down to country level (previously ESDS).

Official statistics from the UK Government.

Use this site to help gather a large range of statistics, including data on the Millennium Development Goals.

A wide range of statistics for countries across the world published by the United Nations.

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Anne Worden

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Further Information