You can find a lot of the resources you need to study by using Library Search.
However, you can also search for articles (and other resources such as reports and conference papers) by browsing journals or by searching databases.
Journals are like academic magazines, where researchers publish their findings. They are important to read when you are preparing to write an assignment because they allow you to find out about the latest discoveries in your subject area.
Read further down this page for more information about journals and journal articles, including how to find them.
Databases are one of the best types of resource to get familiar with. We use the term ‘database’ to describe a searchable collections of online resources which contain items such as journal articles, books, and images. Using the databases recommended for your subject will help you find reliable information from trusted sources.
If Staffordshire University Library has access to a document you find on a database, the record will provide you with the full text of the document. If this is not the case, you can request access via the Document Delivery Service.
You should use a database to search if you are not able to find what you need via Library Search. Also, you will need to search databases if you are asked to complete a literature review.
Popular Social Work Journals
Popular Social Welfare Law Journals
To find journal articles on a topic (rather than browsing whole journals), use Library Search.
Identify the key concepts in the topic that you need information on.
For example, if your essay title is: Evaluate the risks associated with Social Workers referring individuals to a mental health agency, your key concepts will be:
You should then identify synonyms, or words and phrases that mean or relate to these concepts. For example:
It is helpful to match the concepts to PICO where possible:
P = Population (or patient, problem)
I = Intervention
C = Comparison (or control, or comparator)
O = Outcome
In this case, the population is Social Worker, the intervention is mental health referral the comparison is implied (i.e. as opposed to not referring to the mental health agency) and the outcome is the risks involved in the intervention activity.
Once you have identified your key concepts and their synonyms, you can search for literature related to them.
Combine the concepts using Boolean operators (AND / OR / NOT). Find out more about how to use these in the Assignment Survival Kit.
risk AND Social Worker AND referral
danger AND Social Worker AND referral
and so on. Swap one keyword in at a time, be systematic! Write down what you are searching each time and get into the habit of recording the number of results you get back.
You can also search Social Work related databases for articles. See the Databases page for guidance on this.