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SW 6160 - Graduate Social Work Research I : Finding Sources

Background Information & Topic Inspiration

As you narrow the focus of your topic, it can be helpful to explore aspects of interest in the scholarly community. Subject-specific encyclopedias are written by experts to familiarize novice researchers with different aspects of the topic or problem, including affected populations and practice implications. 

Finding Scholarly Articles: Best Bets

This is not a comprehensive list. These are starting points for your research - don't rule out other non-social sciences databases! Social Work is multidisciplinary and so your search needs to encompass a variety of subject areas. 

Identifying Policy Organizations (Think Tanks)

Database Search Strategies

Boolean Operators

Use Boolean Operators as a way to narrow or broaden your search:

AND: use to combine different concepts or keywords; each result will contain all search terms

Example: race AND libraries

OR: use to connect similar concepts or keywords; each result will contain at least one of the search terms

Example: medicine OR health

NOT: use to exclude words or concepts; tells the database to ignore concepts implied by your search

Example: technology NOT database

Parentheses ( ): place around related terms to search for more than one group of keywords

Example: (teaching OR education) AND race

 Asterisk *: use at the end of a keyword to search words that start with the same letters

Example: education AND librar*

Quotation marks “ ”: place around phrases to search for words in that exact order

Example: civil rights” AND teaching

Google Site Search

Google Site Search allows you to limit the results to a specific site or domain extension. Put "site:" in front of a site or domain extension to narrow the results. Don't forget to include your keywords or search terms before the "site:"!

site:.gov searches government websites

site:.edu searches educational websites

site:.org searches non-profit organizations

site:.com searches commercial websites

Example search: chronic illness site:.gov 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar works even better when you have it connected to your library. Set up your library link and get results that are available through the University Libraries.

  1. Click Library Link
  2. Type Wright State in the Library Access Links search Bar
  3. Click Search 
  4. Check the box next to Wright State University-Full Text
  5. Click Save and start searching!