Social Work Research Guide: Articles

This guide connects Social Work students with interesting and valuable internet sources.

What is a database?

Academic Databases are search engines for Academic Journals.  You can find Peer Reviewed articles in Academic Journals.

What is a Peer Reviewed Article?

A Peer Reviewed article is an article that has been read by 3-5 other experts in the field - meaning that the information it contains has been checked for authenticity.  Because of this process, the information you find in a Peer Reviewed article is considered more trustworthy than other information you find online.  

Academic Databases are search engines to find Peer Reviewed articles!

Choose a Database below to start searching!

How do I search in a database?

Watch this video to learn about keyword searching in a database.

Follow the Links

This button provides direct links from the Library's databases to the online full-text articles, when available. If the full text of an article is not available online, search for a print version or request a copy of the article through ILLiad Interlibrary Loan.

Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Sources

You may come across a research assignment that restricts the sources that you may use to only scholarly and/or peer reviewed sources. The terms are used almost interchangeably in an academic setting, but here are the basic definitions:

Scholarly sources: Articles or books that are written by a scholar or a professional in the field and are often used to report original research or experimentation; usually includes specialized vocabulary and are aimed at an academic audience.

Peer Reviewed sources: Many scholarly journals use a process of peer review prior to publishing an article, whereby other scholars or experts in the author's field or specialty critically assess a draft of the article. This process helps ensure that the published articles reflect solid scholarship in their fields. Peer-reviewed journals are also called refereed journals

How can you tell if if a particular article is peer-reviewed? Often the website of the journal in which it was published will tell you if it is a peer reviewed journal or not, or you can use Ulrich's Periodical Directory (usually found either in print or online at most college libraries) to look up a journal title to find out this information. And of course, you can always ask your nearest librarian for help!

Databases for General Social Work Research

These academic databases are great resources for Social Work research. Academic databases are search engines, which search scholarly journals for articles about a given topic, by a certain author, or with a given set of keywords. Social Work, because it is such an interdisciplinary field, has lots of databases that may be useful to you! Check out the descriptions to find databases specifically for the caring professions, education, PTSD, criminology, psychology, and gender.

Social Work Librarian

Chrissy Cogswell's picture
Chrissy Cogswell
3390 N Avondale Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 442-4495
Subjects:Social Work

Empirical Research

Do you need to find empirical articles?

Empirical articles include:

- Studies, interviews, observations, or tests = original, primary research, conducted by the authors

- Introductions, literative reviews, methodologies, results, and discussions = analysis of research

- Conclusions about their research, significance for their subject

*To decide whether an article is empirical, you need to read through it to make sure it is: 1. original research, conducted by the authors, 2. includes an analysis of their research, and 3. contains generalizable conclusions.*