One way to think about research is to say there are two kinds of research. One kind is original research when you, the investigator, creates new information. A few examples of this would be 1) by creating and implementing a survey to answer a question such as, "Are there more homeless in town centers and, if so, why?" or 2) observing and measuring social interactions such as how many times do people in a store line read the tabloids in relation to a question you may have about news gathering behavior.
The second kind of research is called library research or a literature review. This is not referring to literature such as the kind Shakespere or Toni Morrison wrote. What we mean here is literature in the field: The articles and books written about sociology. This guide focuses on this second kind of research: library research / literature review.
When you are writing a paper and your professor asks you to choose a topic, thesis statement or research question, then find 5 articles and some books to use to write your paper, this is a small literature review.
When you are writing a paper and your professor says you need to do a survey or some other original work, that is the first kind of research: original research. HOWEVER, when you write up results for original research, it is often required that you include a literature review on the topic as well and include it in your paper. Look at peer reviewed / scholarly articles. They demonstrate how writing up original research incorporates library research / literature review on the very same topic they studied.
Consider looking at the guide called Research Step-by-Step to help you through the process of doing library research / literature review.
Here are a few books about doing research and research methodologies. Find more in the catalog by typing in the words research method* (include the *: the asterisk) as an LC subject keyword search.
E-Books (online books) may be accessed in the library. If outside the library, use your ID number as your user name and your last name as your password to access online material.