Social Theory

Social Theory

This guide aims to give you a very quick introduction to Social Theory. If you would like any help with Social Theory, or with finding and using other information resources, please contact the Information Consultant for Education, Music and Social Science, Claire Molloy, on Floor 6 of The Sir Duncan Rice Library or by email:

Accessing the database

 ACCESS INFORMATION: You will need to use the Shibboleth/UK Federation authentication route to access these resources. Follow the prompts as detailed below:

You will be prompted to log in either via the Uni Shibboleth page, in which case you should use your computer username of password or via your Microsoft365 account. You may be prompted to use the multifactor authentication app to authorise.

About the database

Social Theory offers an extensive selection of documents that explore the complexities and interpret the nature of social behaviour and organisation. The collection includes more than 122,000 pages from 346 works by 100 authors. Highlights include 33 volumes of the Complete Works of Marx and Engels and nearly 26,000 pages of German language content.
Authors covered: The current release features more than 145,000 pages of content by such major theorists as Jean Baudrillard, Simone de Beauvoir, Ulrich Beck, Howard Becker, Pierre Bourdieu, Nancy Chodorow, Lewis Coser, John Dewey, Émile Durkheim, Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, Jürgen Habermas, Claude Levi-Strauss, Robert Merton, Talcott Parsons and Dorothy Smith.

Note: Each book is also listed in our information gateway, Primo:

Searching the database

Search tips
  • You can combine and separate your search terms using the Boolean Operators AND, OR, NOT (in uppercase!).
  • Quotation marks can be used for phrase searching e.g. “social theory”
  • You can expand your search using * as the truncation symbol, for example phil* will find philosophy, philosopher, philosophical and so on.
  • The symbol * can also be used as a wildcard within a word; for example wom*n will find woman and women.

The symbol * can also be used as a wildcard within a word; for example wom*n will find woman and women.

See below for different search options. 

Click on 'Search'
  • SIMPLE search allows you to search within the text or to search for an author or for a particular title. As you type, you can check your author or title details as suggestions appear.  (You can also use the Terms button.)
  • ADVANCED search allows you to search more specifically, for example within document titles which allows you to search for chapters by name. You can also search for theories or books discussed by the author. 
Click on 'Browse'

Clicking on BROWSE allows you to:

  • browse an A-Z list of Authors – this gives you short biographical details, plus a link to their documents and sources (documents are the individual chapters or sections of a source)
  • browse an A-Z list of Sources (the full-text of titles)
  • browse a list of Documents (each section or chapter of each title)
  • browse a list of Years (of publication)
  • browse a list of Theories (by author’s theoretical perspective and by social theories) and 
  • browse a list of Subjects.


Click on 'Find'

Clicking on FIND gives you two options:

  • Find by Sources

If looking for a particular title, type the details in the Source title search box, e.g. the School and Society will find the John Dewey book.

You can also use Source title as a keyword search. For example, a search for society will find all the items with society in the title such as Baudrillard’s The Consumer Society and Durkheim’s The Division of Labor in Society.

  • Find by Author

Displaying the results 

After the search, the screen will refresh and display the results found – it should state at the top of the results list how many were returned for your search.

You can click on Document to see the chapter. 

Further information

Looking for advice on this resource of your topic?

If you have any question at all about this resource, accessing articles or about your dissertation or assignment topic contact Claire at

Emailing, sharing and exporting to RefWorks

In this resource you tag records to email, print or even share – just tick the ones of interest and press the relevant icon.

You can also export into RefWorks, or other bibliographic management software such as Mendeley. You must have already set up an account -  if you would like more details please contact Claire:

  • You usually need to tick a box next to the reference(s) you wish to save. Note, that you are only saving the citation details, not the full-text of the article.
  • Look for the Export/Save/ Download Citation option and select RefWorks Direct Export or the name of the tool you are using
  • A new window will open – follow any on screen instructions. 

Last revised by Claire Molloy, August 2023