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Getting Started in Social Welfare Research

Overview of how to get started with research and sources for finding basic information

Social Welfare Databases for Finding Articles

Use the databases on this link to locate subject-specific journal articles and other materials for social welfare research topics.

To get the full list of all subjects (and formats like newspapers, data & statistics from and streaming video), go to the library webpage - - click Tools at the top, then Database Finder on the next page... There is a long list of subjects by alphabetical order, including Social Welfare

The three most important databases for locating journal articles are at the top of the list under "Key Databases": Social  Work Abstracts, PsycINFO and Social Services Abstracts (though there are many listed below, under "Other Databases"...)

Many databases have an option to select "peer-reviewed" journal articles, usually before you start your search. Also, the Social Work Abstracts database appears to contain all peer-reviewed journals.

Please note: the online catalog search on the library web page says "Search for books, articles, media and more", but this does not search all of the available articles!


Database Searching Tricks and Tips

Divide your topic into concepts or facets, and then think of all the possible terms for that concept.

   For example, "group work for people with bipolar disorder" has two concepts: (1)group work and (2)bipolar disorder. 

   Alternate terms for group work could include, group counselling, group therapy, group psychotherapy, etc. 

   Alternate terms for bipolar disorder could be manic depression, mood disorders, or affective disorders.

Search each concept separately, using OR between each alternate term:

   First search: group work OR group counselling OR group therapy

   Second search: bipolar disorder OR manic depression OR mood disorders

Use the SEARCH HISTORY to combine all concepts (combine with AND)

   If you get too few results, DROP terms

   If you get too many results ADD terms

If your database has a THESAURUS or SUBJECT HEADINGS use those to efficently identify relevant results