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SWRK 435 - Social Work Methods  

Social Work Methods
Last Updated: Aug 18, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Databases and Books Print Page

Search the Meriam Library Catalog


Subject Searching

When looking for books or articles try to narrow down your subject.

For Example:

  • First search the broad term foster care.
  • The results returned will have the keyword foster care somewhere in the record.
  • Look for the hyperlinked subject terms to lead you to more items with this same subject.
  • The result should be more items on your topic, with less searching.

Additonally, combine terms with AND, OR, NOT example:

  • Foster Care AND Programs
  • Foster Care OR Foster Children
  • Foster Care NOT Residential Care


Databases are available to search on your topic.  Each one indexes unique journals and either provides a summary (abstract) or full text of the article.  If full text is not available, look for the FIND IT button or link to direct you where the full text is available.

  • Social Work Abstracts
    SEARCH for any social work topic. FIND professional, scholarly social work journal article references.
  • SocIndex
    Provides both scholarly and newsy publications, some in full-text. Easy to understand, easy to limit to scholarly journals (click the box for "peer reviewed"). Sources are focused on the social sciences.
  • ERIC
    An education database with a strong representation of educational social work topics.
  • PsycINFO
    A psychology database with a strong representation of social work journals. Many journals address the issues related to the interdisciplinary topics relevant for social work students.
  • Academic Search
    Provides both scholarly and newsy publications, some in full-text. Easy to understand, easy to limit to scholarly journals (click the box for "peer reviewed"). Has a multidisciplinary focus but a strong representation of social science journals.

Search Tips

Brainstorm synonyms for your concept. Different databases use different words for the same concept.  Searching for alternative words improves your chances of success.

Modify your searches based on your results. If you find articles that reflect your interests, redo your search using words that appear in the title, subject headings, abstract, or full text of that article.

Use the asterisk (*) to find various word endings.  (i.e., democrat* finds democrat, democrats, or democratic)

Use the Boolean search operators: and, or, not, near.

AND Reduces the number of search results by requiring more than one term to appear in the same article. (i.e., democrat and obama and campaign)

OR Expands the number of search results by expanding the possible matches to include either one or the other term. (i.e., money or financ*)

NOT Reduces search results to omit references to articles with certain words that have nothing to do with your topic. (i.e., planning not wedding)

NEAR Reduces the search results by requiring two words to appear near one another in the articles. (i.e., political near part*)

Put it all together to make a sophisticated search:
(political near part*) and campaign* and (money or financ*)

Subject Librarian

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Donna Greenberg
Contact Info
Meriam Library
Room 215
Feel free to contact me with your research questions.
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Interlibrary Services

Interlibrary Services (ILL) is available to request books, articles, and other items.  Often the ILL link is provided directly in the database and is the easiest way to submit a request.  Follow the "FIND IT" link and click the link Request your item through Interlibrary Services.

To use the system, you must first set up an account.  To directly logon go to Interlibrary Services

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