Social Work Research at a Distance
SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH AT A DISTANCE
Library Orientation for Distance Learning Students in Social
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!
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
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:
ID's & email: You will need the Library ID number on your I-Card and your
NetID plus password to access most library resources. Follow instructions in this section if you
have not yet obtained these.
Research: Links to step-by-step help webpages, for an orientation to finding
books, articles and journals.
Decision Chart: Use this chart to determine which library services are available
for you to obtain books and articles. For step-by-step guidance in requesting books, see the
Request I-Share Books Tab. For guidance in accessing online journal articles, or
requesting copies of print-only journal articles, see the
Request Articles Tab.
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
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 Sciences, Health, and Education
Library (SSHEL) - SSHEL is your "home base" for social work research. On this website
you will find links to a wide variety of resources targeted specifically to the needs of social
Social Work Research Guides
Guide to Sources in Social Work - Research guide
listing Social Work call number ranges, article databases, and select Social Work print and online
reference sources owned by the ESSL.
Selected Websites in Social Work - Organization
websites; statistical websites; career and educational websites; and special topics websites.
Statistics in the Social Science, Health, and
Education - This guide, prepared by the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library,
will lead you to a variety of statistical resources with an emphasis on U.S. and government
Health Information Portal -
Health research guides created by University of Illinois librarians, useful for Social Work
research on health-related topics such as Aging, Health Policy, Public Health, Psychiatry,
Substance Abuse, and more.
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
- First, search for the topic you are interested in by using the article databases listed below.
- Try words to describe the different concepts you are researching. For example if you are
interested in alcohol abuse in college, your concepts would be "alcohol abuse" and "college
- Consider searching for these concepts together by using Boolean operators. Use the AND operator
to narrow a search. Use the OR operator to broaden a search or to search for synonyms or related
terms. Use the NOT operator to exclude topics.
- Use the thesaurus to find additional or similar terms as well as "controlled vocabulary." Most
databases have "approved" subject terms that are given to articles/citations about a particular
- Use truncation at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word. For example, in
Social Services Abstracts, the * is used as a truncation symbol. By placing this at the end of a
root word such as work*, you will retrieve all words beginning with that root (work, worker,
workforce, workplace, etc.).
- Find an article that looks interesting? Look at the article's citation for subjects use in that
database and run additional searches using these subjects.
- Next, find the actual text of the articles you want by clicking on the
Discover button in a database.
- If the Discover page indicates that we have online full text, click the link to get to the
article. In some cases, we may have the full text article available in multiple databases. If the
Discover page says there is no online full-text available, click the link next to "Library Catalog-
Holdings in VUFIND" to search the library catalog for print holdings. This will show you if the
library owns a copy of the journal/newspaper/book in PRINT form, and tells you the location of that
NOTE: The library catalog will show you the results by JOURNAL title (not article
title). You will need to find the year and/or volume and issue number of the journal that contains
- If you know the citation of the articles you want, from bibliographies or suggested readings
lists, you can use the
Journal and Article Locator to
determine if we have full-text online or in print.
Collections of Journals: Databases
Use databases to search multiple online journals at the same time. Listed below are social work
Services Abstracts - Indexes articles and dissertations in the fields of social work,
human services, social welfare, social policy, and community development.
Work Abstracts - Identifies articles from social work and related journals on topics such
as homelessness, AIDS, child and family welfare, aging, substance abuse, legislation, and community
PsycINFO - Identifies articles, books and dissertations in
psychology and related subjects. (search PsycARTICLES at the same times.)
and Society Studies Worldwide - Covers family science, human ecology, human development,
and social welfare.
- Identifies articles in basic and clinical biomedical research, psychology and
other allied health fields. Compiled by the National Library of Medicine.
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.
Online Library Catalog - Look here to find
books, DVDs, magazines or journals containing articles that you need, and many other
resources. In addition to the 11 million volumes we have on this campus, you can connect to
76 other libraries in Illinois via the
I-Share catalog and request that books be
sent to you. See the
Request I-Share Books section of the
Center for Innovation in Teaching
& Learning Student Library Guide for help requesting books from a distance.
When you find something you want in the catalog, note the following:
Location - in which library the item is kept (or libraries, if we have multiple
Call Number - this number is essential for identifying the item (or finding it on
the shelf, if you visit in person)
Status - is it available for you to check out/request?
Interlibrary Loan - The places to verify
citations for books and request books that are not available online or through the University of
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
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
Print Reference Sources
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:
The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science. 4th ed.,
2010. Contains 2,150 entries (1,500 on topics, 650 on persons) on psychology and
related sciences. Provides basic summaries of specific topics, cross-references, a detailed index
and a bibliography of 15,000 references.
Encyclopedia of Social Work. 20th ed., 2008. SAME as the online book listed
above. This four volume encyclopedia provides a comprehensive overview of social work from a United
States perspective. Entries are arranged alphabetically and each entry contains an abstract, list
of key words, and references. Biographies of selected figures in social work are also included.
Volume 1 contains a list of all entries and introduction. Volume 4 contains a topical outline of
entries, directory of contributors, and comprehensive index. Volume 4 also contains 4 appendixes
entitled : Ethical Standards in Social Work: The NASW Code of Ethics, Evolution of selected
Organizations, Distinctive Dates in Social Welfare History, and NASW Standards for Cultural
Competence in Social Work Practice.
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed.
2010. The authoritative source for style and format for the preparation of
manuscripts in psychology and several other social science disciplines.
Research Methods for Social Workers. 7th ed. 2012.
Social Work Speaks: National Association of Social Workers Policy Statements 2012-2014. 9th
ed. Includes new and revised policies approved by the 2005 Delegate Assembly.
Policies are arranged in alphabetical order and a list of topic areas is included.
Social Workers' Desk Reference. 2009. Includes comprehensive coverage of
social work theories, evidence-based models, assessment instruments, and therapeutic techniques.
The chapters, each with references, are written for the clinical practitioner and address the
current context of social work practice, social work ethics and values, developing and implementing
treatment plans, case management guidelines, community practices, and outcome measures. Contains a
glossary of terms, and both a name and subject index.
Writing With Style: APA Style for Social Work. 4th ed. 2011.
Writing Skills for Social Workers. 2012. Designed to raise the profile of writing
skills in social work practice, enhance social workers’ written communication skills, and move
writers from practice to research. Chapters cover essential elements of written communication,
writing in daily practice and professional context, and influencing practice context. Includes a
bibliography and index.
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.
“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
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