"With their careful attention to issues of measurement and data and their orientation to aggregate-level processes, [demographers] have provided valuable insights into many important issues." - Samuel Preston
This introduction offers sources and tips for navigating the library's range of materials in demography, the scientific study of population. Demography is and demographic methods are inherently interdisciplinary, so if you're struggling to find something, you might also want to check out the guides for sociology, GIS (geographic information systems), population health or economics--or contact your librarian!
Don't have much time and need to get started quickly?
1. Search our library catalog to find books, ebooks, and DVDs in the library.
2. Search Sociological Abstracts, ProQuest Social Sciences, or PubMed (depending on your focus) for articles and book reviews. (The foremost population studies database, POPLINE, ended its service on 1 September 2019).
4. Search for your topic + "social aspects," "sociological aspects," or "sociology of" on Google Scholar.
5. If you find a key article, type the title on Google Scholar and click "cited by" to see who else is using that work.
1. Have a question, or a fuzzy idea. What social and cultural factors influence decisions about desired family size? is a good example of a starting question. You may find yourself refining or adjusting your question later--that's all part of the process!
2. Browse encyclopedias or Wikipedia to get a quick overview, or search a general database like Academic Search Complete and read an article or two to learn what’s out there on your topic.
3. Come up with a list of words to search in our demography databases. Don't be afraid to search for related topics like number of siblings, completed fertility, childbearing goals, etc. Synonyms are your friends!
4. Know how Google Scholar + library catalogs and databases work, and try each one for a major project.
5. Download and read a few related articles. Their mention of other articles will give you ideas for other resources.
6. You probably won't find the perfect article. No one else is going to make your argument for you in a single article. Instead, you'll need to combine ideas from other authors on related topics or cultures to make your own argument for how populations are the way they are. That's demography!
7. Get help. Use the 20-minute rule. If you're still struggling after 20 minutes of searching, email a librarian for an appointment.