Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Sociology

Date Drafted: May 1991 Revised: 2003, March 2005 SN, December 2010 HM

Purpose or Scope of Collection

Sociology is the scientific study of societies and human social behavior.  Much of sociological writing and research is interdisciplinary.  In particular, the disciplines of psychology, demography, science (including environmental studies) and medicine will be readily intertwined in sociological research.

The purpose of this collection is to support the identified curricular and research needs of the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University and secondarily to broadly support interdisciplinary endeavors in teaching and research that draw upon sociological thought.  The sociology collection supports the curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  The graduate program in sociology emphasizes the doctoral degree and does not admit applicants for only the MA degree. 

The Department of Sociology is part of the College of Social Science and the interdisciplinary nature of sociology is indicated by departmental ties with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, and Education as well as faculty connections with research institutes and centers in area studies, development, ethnic and regional studies, and environmental toxicology.  Family studies programs in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies are also served by sociological resources in the area of family and gender.

The Department of Sociology has a departmental theme of Global Transformations, which acknowledges a diverse global society: “Sociology has research, teaching and service that focus on the challenges of global understanding of social, political and cultural differences and how a global context accounts for social processes, change, and inequality both locally and abroad.”  Within this theme, there are five focus areas of study: (1) Family and Gender; (2) Food, Environment, Agriculture, Science and Technology; (3) Health and Well Being; (4) Urban, Race and Migration; and (5) Sociology of Population.

In addition to theoretical approaches, research in sociology is marked by a strong empirical tradition based on quantitative studies.  This is evident in the Department of Sociology in the Principles of the Undergraduate Sociology Program at MSU which states that students must be engaged in “doing sociology” by using and interpreting quantitative data as well as critical analysis of sociological theory.  At the graduate level, students complete a Second Year Research Paper which must be data based.  Statistical resources and numeric datasets must also be included in the collection of materials for sociology.


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