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Social Work

This guide is designed to assist students in finding resources for their Social Work classes.

Finding Journal Articles about Social Work

You will be able to find scholarly, peer reviewed articles in the field of social work by using the electronic databases below. See a definition of scholarly resources toward the bottom of the this guide.

What is "Evidence Based"?

This definition comes from the Social Work Policy Institute: Evidence-Based Practice.

"The term evidence-based practice (EBP) was used initially in relation to medicine, but has since been adopted by many fields including education, child welfare, mental heath, and criminal justice. The Institute of Medicine (2001) defines evidence-based medicine as the integration of best researched evidence and clinical expertise with patient values."

Scholarly Periodicals vs. Non-scholarly Periodicals

Scholarly Periodicals publish articles that are useful for serious scholastic research; often, instructors will insist that students use only scholastic periodicals for their research work. 

Scholarly periodicals are also referred to as Academic Journals or Peer-Reviewed or   Refereed Journals.  "Peer Reviewed" and  "Refereed" mean that not only is the journal edited, but that every article included in the journal is reviewed by authorities in the subject field of the journal, to decide whether or not the article should be published.

Some criteria of a scholarly journal or other scholarly periodical is:

  • The journal is  mostly read by people  involved in or interested in the field  of study covered by the journal
  • Articles are often lengthy, and include footnotes or endnotes and works cited  information
  • Graphs, charts, statistical information, and tables are often used to support  the text or research
  • The vocabulary is geared to the field of study covered by the journal 
  • The articles are very often peer  reviewed (refereed)

Non-Scholarly Periodicals publish articles that are not considered or meant to be of a highly serious, scholastic nature. 

This is not to say that the articles in any given non-scholastic magazine or newspaper are false or badly written.  It only means that, for scholarly research purposes, non-scholarly periodicals do not have the recognized level of authority that a scholastic journal usually has.

Some criteria of a magazine or other non-scholarly periodical is:

  • The periodical appeals to a general audience; the vocabulary is geared to all readers
  • Graphs, tables, and research studies are seldom included
  • The articles usually do not have  footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies (works cited)
  • The articles tend to be short in length, usually under 10 pages