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SWK 370 Course Guide: Library Research Guide

Introduction & Worksheet

 This guide offers a roadmap of resources to help you successfully complete the research paper in SWK 370.  Use the resources laid out below to help you (a) gather background information on the problem, and (b) conduct a literature review of scholarly studies that examine one or more interventions for addressing that problem.

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Morgan Johnson
107 Carlyle Campbell Library

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Step One: Background Information from Library

Look at the encyclopedia resources below to gather information on your client's problem, its prevalence, the people impacted by it, and possible interventions to address it.

Step Two: Background Information from Government

Next, search for government statistics to help you define the scope of the social problem, particular groups affected, and trends over time.

One approach: use Google to search something like children mental illness, and add site:gov to your search box to limit results to government sources only.

Another approach: see the US Government Agencies box on the Websites tab of the Social Work research guide, and search the sites of any agencies that seem relevant to your social issue.

Finally, try searching Statista for tables and charts of data on a wide variety of topics.

Step Three: Journal Articles

To begin your literature review, try searching for studies about your social problem and possible intervention(s) in one of the library's article databases.

For example, to find studies of Cognitive Behavior Therapy as used with substance abusers, search:

"cognitive behavior therapy" AND (drug* OR substance)

Remember to use quotation marks around phrases, and use the AND/OR searching technique that you learned in ENG 200.

Filter the date range for your results (usually on the left) to only show articles from the past 5 years.

You can also add the word review as a keyword to your search, to seek review articles covering multiple studies.

Step Four: Citation Tracing

The next step is to use the bibliographies of the scholarly studies that you've found to identify more studies that are on topic.  This is a good technique for expanding your literature review. Remember you're looking for articles from the past 5 years.

For each useful-looking article, search the journal's title (NOT the article title) in the Journal Finder. If the journal is available in the year when the study was published, follow the link to the journal's page and search the title of the study to find the full text.

If the journal is NOT available but you really want the study, you can fill out the Interlibrary Loan request form. We will obtain the study from another library and email it to you, normally within 2-4 business days.