Social sciences

Social sciences

This guide aims to navigate you to quality scholarly information sources to support research across all subjects within Social Sciences. Tabs indicate types of information or categories of material. 

Search Discover or see the ebooks page to find books. See the newspapers and broadcast news page for current and digital archives of major newspapers and news channels. The referencing page provides guidance on all referencing systems used across the university including Harvard and Chicago.

For further help, please contact your librarian for advice and support.

Journal articles

Discover is our single search system which searches our books, ebooks, most journal content and selected other resources. We provide a Discover search guide. For more comprehensive searches you will need to search a database.

Primary sources

See our Archives and Special Collections pages for details of our rich collections at GCU. The Archives Hub has information on archives collections across the UK.

Access our statistics page for census and other social data and our ebooks page for historic book collections from the mid-fifteenth to the early twentieth century.

Social datasets and ephemera
  • Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals includes periodicals published between 1800-1900. It will be of interest to historians and students of nineteenth century culture, empire, feminism, sport and leisure, science and medicine 
  • Statistical Accounts of Scotland 1790 and 1830 The two Statistical Accounts of Scotland, covering the 1790s and the 1830s, are among the best contemporary reports of life during the agricultural and industrial revolutions in Europe. Based largely on information supplied by each parish church minister, the original (First) Statistical Account and the New (Second) Statistical Account provide a rich record of a wide variety of topics: wealth, class and poverty; climate, agriculture, fishing and wildlife; population, schools, and the moral health of the people
  • John Johnson Collection is a unique and quirky archive of printed ephemera in Britain from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection was created by John de Monins Johnson (1882-1956), printer to Oxford University. Digital versions of material ranging from posters, handbills, broadsides, prints and prospectuses are all held in the archive
  • British periodicals includes the full text of hundreds of periodicals from the late 17th century to the early 20th, with over six million page images. A wide range of different types of periodical are included in this collection - from family magazines and penny weeklies, special interest periodicals, arts & literature reviews, through to professional publications
Government and parliamentary papers
  • House of Commons parliamentary papers (HCPP) 1688-2003/4. These papers form an incredible historical record of Britain, its colonies and the wider world. HCPP is a massive collection of primary material covering all areas of social, political, economic and foreign policy. The 18th century collection 1688-1834 includes publications created by either the House of Lords or House of Commons including sessional papers, journals and private acts. The 19th century collection includes sessional papers from 1801-1900. More detail on this content. The 20th century collection brings this up to parliamentary session 2003/4
  • You can also read historical Hansard with debates from both houses of parliament between 1803-2005
  • Cabinet papers 1915-1984 from the National Archives can be searched or browsed by theme. The collection also includes maps from 1900-2000
  • The Stormont papers provides 50 years of Northern Ireland parliamentary debates from 1921 to 1972 when Northern Ireland was under the administrative control of a devolved parliament based at Stormont. This digitised archive holds 92,000 pages that cover and document this key time in Northern Ireland’s history
Military archives
  • Mass observation has recorded everyday life in Britain since 1937, through the collection of diaries, the taking of photographs, the completion of questionnaires and anthropological observation of activities such as political meetings and sporting activities
  • The serving soldier is a growing and varied digital archive, covering the lives of soldiers from 1899 to 1918 and spanning the Second Boer War, Younghusband Expedition and World War One. Letters, photographs, posters, military booklets and campaign notes create a vivid picture of life as a serving solder
  • The Wartime News is a collection of reminiscences of veterans of WWll. The magazine was published from 1995-2011. The university library has the collection in print from 2001-2011 which you can access via our Archives and Special Collections team
  • Welsh voices of the Great War online includes letters and postcards through drawings and photographs, to medals and objects collected from the front, this resource presents a superb collection of material connected to the Great War collected from Welsh families
  • Sudan archive at Durham. In the year after Sudanese independence, the Sudan Archive was formed to collect and preserve papers from former officials, soldiers, missionaries, businessmen, and individuals who served or lived in the Sudan during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium period (1899-1955)

History websites

American history
  • Historical Text Archive Created in 1990, this open access site hosts articles, ebooks and links for historians
  • The History Cooperative is maintained and developed by the University of Illinois Press, the organisation of American Historians and JSTOR. It is a mix of open access and subscribed content
  • Internet Modern History Sourcebook sources for modern history (mainly American). Maintained and developed by Fordham University in New York
  • American Memory is an open access archive of American culture. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America
History of health
  • The Lancet 1883-present is a peer-reviewed, stringently edited general medical journal which is international in focus and covers all aspects of human health. A great resource for all medical practitioners as well as health and social historians
  • British Medical Journal (BMJ) provides information from 1840-present
Modern British history
  • Institute of Historical Research is maintained by the University of London School of Advanced Study and aims to provide resources for historians including digital projects, seminars, conferences, books, journals and podcasts
  • The Women's Library documents women's lives through the ages including women's rights, suffrage, sexuality, health, education, employment, feminism, reproductive rights to the family, and the home. The emphasis is primarily on women in Britain, but some international material is included

Politics websites

Parliament and government - UK
  • The History of Parliament website hosts a comprehensive and authoritative research project on the parliamentary politics of England, then Britain from its origins in the thirteenth century. The project pulls together in-depth research by professional historians of elections and electoral politics from that period
  • Parliament’s role has information on the role of parliament, its relationship with government and extensive information on parliament's history and development
  • Elections and voting in the UK including types of voting systems, general and by-elections and parliamentary constituencies
  • MPs, Lords and officers
  • Parliament TV watch live debates and committee meetings. You can also access archive footage from 1st July 2009 onwards
  • Crossbench Peers website of independent Peers in the House of Lords
  • Holyrood magazine
Politics - European Union
  • EUROPA is the official web page of the European Union
  • European Parliament News provides headlines and the latest news stories
  • BBC Guide to the European Parliament and guide to the EU Institutions
Politics - worldwide

Sociology websites

  • Centre for Policy on Ageing established in 1947 by the Nuffield Foundation, has a long and distinguished record as an independent charity promoting the interests of older people through research, policy analysis and the dissemination of information
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation actively researches poverty in the UK, supports communities and places where people live and positively promotes and supports our ageing population. Use the website to read their research reports and initiatives
  • The Women's Library is a cultural centre housing the most extensive collection of women's history in the UK. The collections include books, pamphlets, periodicals, zines, artist books, audio-visuals, personal and organisational papers, objects, textiles and visual materials