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The purpose of this guide is to recommend print and electronic resources for conducting research in social work in the Library. Click on the links on the left for suggestions about starting your research, getting books and articles, and finding other useful tools for research in Social Work.
To learn more about the library and its resources and how you can exploit them to your advantage, register in the Research Skills Tutorial on D2L. There are several sections in the tutorial with a short quiz at the end of each; at the end you will receive a Certificate of Completion. Many professors require you to take this tutorial--and once you finish it, you can save your certificate to reprint as often as necessary.
In the fall, the library hosts live Orientation tours as well as Zotero classes which you can sign up for at the library's entrance, and even after the formal schedule is finished, we are very happy to put on special classes at the request of at least 5 students. If you would like to arrange a special class, or you think your course would benefit from some in-class library instruction, please ask your professor to contact the librarian responsible for your faculty to set up some sessions.
Help with a Paper
I am available to help you throughout the academic year. If you would like to arrange for an individual appointment, please e-mail me with a requested date and time, and a brief description of your firstname.lastname@example.org
In the library: The Library User Assistance Desk to your immediate left as you enter the library is a good place to start.
By email: Email the librarian responsible for your faculty for a reply during regular working hours.
By telephone: 705-675-4803, or toll free at 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2
For Distance Education students: Telephone: 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2 or email: email@example.com
Quick Tips on Preparing For Research
Before you start:
- understand the key terms you may be using as well as the general area that interests you;
- think about ways to narrow your topic, making it as specific as possible (unless you have been given a specific topic to research!);
- create a thesis statement;
- list the main concepts (key words) included in your thesis statement (research question), then based on your readings;
- find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept. You are now ready to start searching in the library's catalogue and databases.
When you are looking for definitions or if you don’t know much about a specific subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short—and understandable—articles. These articles often lay out the parameters of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings (bibliographies) which allow you to explore your topic further.
Dictionaries and Encyclopedias for Social Work
Subject-Specific encyclopedias and dictionaries clarify unfamiliar words and discipline-specific concepts. When you are looking for definitions or if you are not familiar with a subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short, authoritative articles. These articles lay out the parameters of a topic and can assist you in providing a specific focus. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings or bibliographies which allow you to explore the topic further. All of the resources listed below link either to the library catalogue record for each book or to an online resource or website
The Social Work Dictionary (in print) 5th ed. 2003.
Encyclopedia of Social Work (online): This new edition of the Encyclopedia includes coverage of areas that have come to the fore since the 1995 publication of the 19th edition, including demographic changes from immigration, technology, the implications of managed care, faith-based assistance, evidence-based practice, gerontology, and trauma and disaster. Each article is written and signed by a top academic or social work practitioner and includes a bibliography for further reading.
Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior: This resource contains more than 700 articles focusing on the social, political, and medical issues surrounding addictions.
The Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence: This resource covers violence according to categories, including theories, syndromes, disorders, civil and criminal code violations, and research methods.
Encyclopedia of Counseling: Changes and Challenges in the 21st Century: This resource is a four-volume work, with more than 600 entries divided by category (changes and challenges, personal/emotional counseling, cross-cultural counseling, and career counseling).
Encyclopedia of Research Design: This resource is interdisciplinary, but provides extensive coverage into various research methods, as well as tables, equations, and figures used in actual studies.
Why Use Books?
- Books are extremely valuable resources when doing in-depth research on a topic! Authors have hundreds of pages to give detailed explanations and background information surrounding the various facets of your research interest.
- Using this kind of in-depth information will make it easier to form a research question or thesis statement (or even spark your inspiration)
- The bibliographies found in books are extensive, and will point you to other resources to add to your own resource list.
- Remember: scholars write journal articles under the assumption that you already have a relatively thorough understanding of the topic – this means that you will likely not find the foundational information needed for your topic in the beginning stages of your research process. In this sense, books become indispensable
Searching the Catalogue
The catalogue is your primary tool for finding books in the J.N. Desmarais Library. You can also use the catalogue to find other materials, including government publications and journals (the journals themselves--not individual articles).
You can search the catalogue by:
- Journal Title
When you know the book you are searching for, pick Title or Author; when you are searching for a topic, start with Keyword unless you know the exact Subject heading describing your topic.
More on searching the Catalogue is available in Module 5 of the Research Skills Tutorial in D2L.
- Some may be located by using the library’s catalogue. These records will have [electronic resource] in the title.
- E-books can also be located by searching in e-book collections. Searching in these collections is the same as searching in a database.
In addition to books, you may wish to search for book-length Master's theses or Ph.D dissertations.
Best bet: Dissertations and Theses (ProQuest).
If you are also looking for recent theses or dissertations produced by Laurentian graduates, check out LUZONE. Note that since 2013, before graduation all Masters and Doctoral candidates MUST deposit their theses or dissertations in this repository.
Articles: Quick Tips
The databases to the right provide references to many scholarly journal articles and papers.
- Start off with keyword searches expressing your topic. Keyword searching crosses all fields.
- Use Search Operators such as "OR" and "AND" to expand or reduce your results.
- Review those items that look relevant, then, exploit the details within those entries to help lead you to other relevant articles.
- Pay attention to the subject headings (often called "descriptors") to see how the database describes your topic and use them to find related articles.
- Find other papers written by the same author; these will typically be on similar subjects.
- Follow citation trails: other articles that have cited this article will probably be on a related subject and will include citations to other articles of interest.
- For more Secrets of Searching a Database, review that section in How to Research Like a Librarian.
Peer Review is the evaluation of creative work by scholars in the same field in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work in that field.
In the case of peer reviewed journals, which are usually academic, peer review generally refers to the evaluation of the articles in them prior to publication. For more, check out this definition of peer review.
- To ascertain whether a journal is peer reviewed, consult Ulrichsweb.
Some Related Databases
Social Work is a truly interdisciplinary discipline, and so, depending on the topic you are researching, you may wish to explore it in the subject databases of the following disciplines: Economics, Gerontology, Law and Justice, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.
Getting Articles @ Laurentian
In any database, when you see an article that interests you, click on it and, unless the article is available within the database itself, within the record you will see an image that says "Get it @ Laurentian":
When you click on that, you will arrive at a menu which will lead to an electronic copy of the article you want, or, if not available electronically, to Laurentian's catalogue which will allow you to check if the article is available in print in the library, and if not, to a final link which allows you to order the item through Interlibrary loan.
Need a Film Not in Laurentian's Online Film Collections?
Consult: Watmedia (Provincial Multi-media Catalogue). Material held by Laurentian may be signed out in the library. To order a film not available at Laurentian, please email LUFilmLibrary@laurentian.ca and specify the date(s) you require the item.
Questions: Please contact Ashley Thomson who manages the Intrafilm Project.
We cite sources to acknowledge the work of others, as well as to avoid academic dishonesty or plagiarism.
The University of Toronto has made available a comprehensive set of guidelines on How NOT to Plagiarize .which deserves to be read by every student
Citation Styles in Laurentian's Social Work Program
At Laurentian, professors will specify the citation style to be used. In Social Work, normally APA is the style required. To learn more about the APA and other citation styles, consult Laurentian's guide to citation styles.
Zotero is a free, web-based citation manager that allows you to:
- Directly import references from article databases, the library catalogue, e-book collections, etc.
- Manage and organize your references.
- Create a bibliography.
- Share your references with others
- Add in-text citation and a bibliography directly into your assignment
Getting started with Zotero:
- Sign up for library workshops when available.
- View Quick Start Guide (video) or Tutorials (videos)
- Consult one of Zotero's own User Guides or McMaster University's Quick Start Guide or the Zotero Guide by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology