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Social Work Research Skills

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Social Work Research Skills

  1. 1. Research for Social Workers <ul><li>Objectives for today’s workshop: </li></ul><ul><li>To demonstrate the use of 3 databases useful to Social Workers undertaking research: Social Care Online; Proquest; Social Science Citation Index. </li></ul><ul><li>To outline the basic principles of carrying out any database search. </li></ul><ul><li>Students to be able to select the database appropriate to your search. </li></ul><ul><li>Time to familiarise yourselves with key features of the databases with time to practice searches and ask questions. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Social Care Online <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Social work specific, good starting point, comparatively easy to use, not just journal material includes books, government documents, legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>SCIE selects content so database is not comprehensive, full text availability not linked to Middlesex holdings. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Proquest - Newspapers <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Quick and easy to use, good for opinion, background and case studies, all full text, links to Refworks </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper articles only, no research </li></ul>
  4. 4. Social Science Citation Index <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><li>Widest “academic” coverage, most comprehensive database, research based, “article cited by” link, can export citations into Refworks </li></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>Least user friendly interface, full text availability not linked to Middlesex holdings, no topic/subject indexing </li></ul>
  5. 5. Principles of Searching <ul><li>Define your question </li></ul><ul><li>Think of synonymous terms for your subjects </li></ul><ul><li>You may need to search each concept separately and then combine them to get the best results </li></ul><ul><li>You will need to use “AND” , “OR” and maybe “NOT” to search for and find information. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Combining searches on Social Care Online <ul><li>And – combining two or more searches with and will narrow down your search (numbers of results will decrease) and only give you results that include BOTH search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Or – combining two or more searches using or will give you a set of results containing either or both of the search terms. Number of results will increase. This is best done when combining two synonymous or closely-related terms </li></ul><ul><li>Not – this allows you to exclude a word or phrase that would otherwise give you false hits. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Remember…. <ul><li>Select the database / source appropriate to the information you are looking for. </li></ul><ul><li>Plan your search, think about how you are going to search and find the information. </li></ul><ul><li>More Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Other resources are available to you – Healthcare databases. </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction to the Healthcare databases training available at the Archway Healthcare Library (useful for mental health subjects) </li></ul>

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