Choose a Topic
My sweet puppy, quite afraid of thunderstorms.
that interests you.
Walking in the dog park the other day, I started thinking about the different treatments I’d been hearing about for my friends’ dogs’ fears of thunder and lightening storms. No one seemed to want to use boring, old (time-comsuming) desensitization techniques. (Letting their dogs listen to soft thunder sounds and giving them treats for the moments they were calm. Then increasing the sounds and adding flashes of light as they were able to maintain their calm.)
Gotta show you a picture of my chubby beagle-mix, Audrey Hepburn, who is quite afraid of thunderstorms.
No, my friends suggested using flower essences, cloth wraps, TTouch, message, acupuncture. Things that only my nutty friends used in California during the 1970's. Many of these techniques have now integrated into regular medicine. How has this happened? Massage therapy was never covered under insurance of old. Now acupuncture is covered by most insurance. Why and how has this happened?
2) Find Background Information from Subject Specific Encyclopedias
To find background information and to get a theoretical perspective on the issues involved, look in the index of the encyclopedia, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology.
Now, since this is an encyclopedia of sociology, each of the 56 articles you find slant the topic from a sociological viewpoint — not psychological, not medical. Just what you want for a sociology class and for your question. Cool beans.
Use the first article, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, by Hans Baer to help you
- find references to other articles and books that were seminal to the work on your topic
- researchers who started the work on your topic
- keywords that researchers use to describe your topic
- alternative and complementary medicine
- holistic medicine
- medical pluralism
- other questions that interest you
- How have economics contributed to the increase of acceptance of alternative therapies by conventional medicine?
- Is the rise of alternative medicines related to or parallel to the development of other practicing professionals (nurse practitioners, midwives, physicians assistants) within conventional medicine?
- other encyclopedia articles that relate to your topic
- social theories that explain or define your topic
3) Find Books in the library catalog
Next, you can look for the books and articles at the end of the article in our library catalog. Hans Baer’s book is there.
4) Find Articles in subject databases
A couple of different databases may help you find articles that interest you. The Sociology Subject Guide lists several different databases, including Sociological Abstracts, PubMed, and Web of Science. Sociological Abstracts includes journals particularly from a sociological point of view, so that’s a good place to start.
Use the terms from the encyclopedia article:
(complementary medicine OR alternative medicine OR medical pluralism OR holistic medicine)
If you use the thesaurus, the results will mostly hit right on topic!
Thesaurus search for alternative medicine
Now what can you do? Read through these abstracts and see which really answer your question and which are off topic.
If they look good, click on the and follow the instructions for getting e-journals.
5) You might check out PubMed. Included are journals directed at bioscientists and physicians, so there should be interesting material here. Do similar sorts of searches. You might want to look at these as primary sources, as the object of research — analyze some of the articles from a sociological perspective.
Complementary Medicine[MeSH] AND “medical pluralism”
6) Perform a Citation Search; Find Related Records using Web of Science
Choose an older, pertinent article from your previous searches. Then see who has written a more recent article on a similar topic and cited that article.
Another technique is to search for articles in Web of Science and then to look for Related Records.
- I searched for an article using the same terms as above: “complemetary medicine” AND “medical pluralism”.
- I found the article
Kaptchuk, T.J. and Eisenberg, D. M. (2001). Varieties of healing. A taxonomy of unconventional healing practices. Annals of Internal Medicine, 135 (3). 196-204.
When you click on the link, you get this record. On the right hand side of it, you see a link to “Related Records.” I’ve circled it in red and marked it with a red arrow.
If you click here, you’ll get other articles that share the same references and so probably are on the same topics. The articles at the top will share the most references — they should be the most closely related.
I clicked on the red circle and got the following results:
The articles that share the most references appear at the top of the list. Lots of these articles are on the topic you’re interested in.
Clicking on the purple circle, I got more recent articles that cited this one:
Keep reading and thinking. Soon you’ll be writing and turning in your paper.
Come visit me, email, or call any time you need help!