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University of Southern MaineLibraries

SOC 301: Qualitative Research Methods: Secondary Sources

A guide to library resources for SOC 301 as taught by Dr. Chapkis.

What are Secondary Sources?

A secondary source interprets primary sources and the original historical event. It specifically examines events for some sort of (often scholarly) purpose. Secondary sources are usually created much later than the original event in question.

Examples of Secondary Sources:

  • Books
  • Documentaries
  • Journal Articles

All of these can be found on USM Libraries website:


Is a search engine that searches the libraries shelves and the majority of the databases USM owns. HOWEVER this brings back A LOT of things.

Use this as a starting place to help you refine your keywords

This is also a useful place to search to see if we have a specific source you heard mentioned.


A search engine for things that live on our libraries shelves (books, documents, films, music). This also has digital versions of these sources. You can request things to be sent to you by clicking on the "Request" button, or "Request" with the red check mark up in the top menu.

Another good place to start your search in.

Databases and Subject Guides

These are where lots of sources that came up in OneSearch live. It's a good idea to find a Database, or Journal within a database, that is particular to your subject and run another keyword search in it. The Type and Subject tabs at the top of the Databases A-Z page can help you do this OR you can use a Subject Guide like this to look for recommended Databases.

Looking in the stacks

The majority of books concerting LGBTQ+ past and present are in the HQ 71 to HQ 78 call number range.

Finding LGBTQ+ related material in the the library catalog and databases can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some Subject headings to start with. You can pair these with other subject terms like history (gender identity history). Also, keep in mind that terminology has changed over time, so older materials may use older terms that today the community finds hurtful.

  • Asexuality (Sexual orientation).
  • Bisexuality.
  • Gays.
  • Lesbians.
  • Gender identity.
  • Gender nonconformity.
  • Intersex people.
  • Homosexuality.
  • Transgender people.
    • Transgender men.
    • Transgender women.
    • Transsexuals.
  • Queer theory.
  • Gender nonconformity.
  • Gay rights.
  • Gay liberation movement.
  • Coming out (Sexual orientation).
  • Non-monogamous relationships.
  • Sexual behavior.
  • Sexology.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Sexual minority community.


For more comprehensive lists try these three sites:

LGBTQ Library of Congress subject headings:

LGBTQ Library of Congress Subject Headings - Divided by Topic:


The Homosaurus is an international linked data vocabulary of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) terms. This vocabulary is intended to function as a companion to broad subject term vocabularies, such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings. Libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions are encouraged to use the Homosaurus to support LGBTQ research by enhancing the discoverability of their LGBTQ resources.



These journals can be found by searching their title in the Journals & eBook Search.

(You can also us the Browse by Subject -- Social Sciences -- Gender & Ethnic Studies)

The Advocate (Los Angeles, Calif.)

American journal of sexuality education


The Harvard gay & lesbian review

GLQ: Gay and Lesbian Quarterly

Gender & history

Gender & behaviour

Gender & society

Gender, place and culture : a journal of feminist geography

Gender studies & research

Journal of Bisexuality

Journal of the History of Sexuality

Journal of Homosexuality

Journal of Lesbian studies

Journal of sex research

Lambda nordica

Law & sexuality

Queer Studies in Media & Pop Culture

Race, Gender & Class

Sexuality & culture

Studies in gender and sexuality

Transgender studies quarterly