Social Work Research at a Distance

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Library Orientation for Distance Learning Students in Social Work

The University of Illinois Library is one of the largest in the United States with over 13 million titles in its collection, and as a University of Illinois student enrolled in a distance learning program, you have the ability to access these resources from miles away! Below you will find links to some of the resources and services you need for efficient and effective use of the library. Welcome!



Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Library Services | Find Your Library | Social Work Research Guides | Find Background Information: Reference Resources | Find Articles | Find Books, Journals, & Media | Use Citation Management Software | Get Research Assistance



Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Library Services

Library Guide

The  Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Student Library Guide (for students enrolled in online or off-campus courses) provides you with the tools you will need to access and receive materials from the University Library including information about setting up your library account, requesting materials, and returning materials to the Library. This guide explains how you can get the books and articles you need, from a distance. New students should review the following sections of the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Student Library Guide:

Accessing Library Resources Off-Campus

When you first attempt to access an online resource; such as an online database, e-book, or online journal; from the Library website, you will be asked to log in using your University NetID and password. Additional information about the library proxy server, which allows people who are off-campus to access restricted databases, can be found in the Access to Resources section of the Resources for Distance Learners - Frequently Asked Questions page.



Find Your Library

There are over 25 departmental libraries (with their own websites!) on the Illinois campus, and sometimes it may be difficult to determine where to find the resources you need. Happily, our resources are pulled together electronically to make things easier for everyone. The Library Gateway is your online doorway to the University Library, and the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) is your subject-specific departmental library with specialized collections and reference services for social work research.



Social Work Research Guides



Find Articles

Scholarly journal articles are one of the primary means of communicating research ideas You can find the most recent research published in your field by locating journal articles. They are an important component of academic research and give you some insight into ongoing debates and scholarly conversations about your topic. You can find articles through database searches. The University of Illinois Library subscribes to numerous article databases (lists of article citations and sometimes full-text) that can be used to search for journal articles on your research topic. Some databases cover many disciplines, while others are subject-specific. As a graduate student at Illinois, you need to know about the subject-specific databases in social work.

Tips for Effective Searching


Collections of Journals: Databases

Use databases to search multiple online journals at the same time. Listed below are social work related databases. 

Suggested Databases in Related Fields



Find Books, Journals, & Media

Library catalogs are used for two purposes. First, if you know exactly what you are looking for - an exact title or author - you can use the catalog to locate your material. This works for book titles and journal titles. Second, you can use library catalogs to discover material that might be helpful to you by doing subject and keyword searching. Many of the records for journal titles in our catalog can link you to the electronic versions of these publications. If you do not see a link to an electronic version of an article you need in the Online Catalog, go to the Online Journals and Databases page and search for the Journal title.

Easy Search

Search the library catalog and article databases simultaneously for books and articles related to the subject of social work. Consider using terms such as social work, social services, human services, social policy, and social welfare.

Find Articles, Books, Journals and Web Pages

Keyword Search
What am I Searching?

Select More Options to search by title, author, or keyword in a broad selection of sources.



Find Background Information

These online reference sources will be helpful to you as Social Work scholars and professionals. You will need to use your NetID and password to access these resources off-campus.

Online Reference Sources

You will be asked to log in with your NetID and password to access online reference sources off-campus.

Print Reference Sources

Although print reference books do not circulate and are not available by request through the catalog, it's helpful to know a few social work print reference book titles that might be available at a library near you. We have listed some of these extremely useful resources below:



Use Citation Management Software

Citation management software can help you export bibliographic records from databases, change citation styles as needed, and import citations directly into a Word document so you can create bibliographies on the fly.

The guide “Citation Management Software Overview” helps users choose a citation management tool and provides links to other guides on specific options like Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.



Get Research Assistance

Ask-A-Librarian for Help with Your Research

Use our Ask-A-Librarian Service to IM, chat, email, phone or find a librarian. Request a Research Consultation for a one-on-one appointment with a librarian to learn about the best databases, search strategies and information sources for your upcoming project or paper. For individual help with research, don't hesitate to contact us, or come in and ask one of our energetic and helpful reference assistants.

More Help Using the Library