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Social Work : Finding Articles & Databases

Evaluating resources and what is peer review?

The WriteSite's module 2 gives you guidance on how to choose the source material for your academic writing and how to evaluate those sources.

Refereed or peer reviewed articles are scholarly resources that go through an official editorial process or review and approval by experts in the same subject area before they are considered for a peer reviewed publication. Checking to see if the article is from a peer reviewed journal is one way of evaluating a resource.  

Most Library databases allow you to limit your search results to peer reviewed. You can always check whether a Journal's articles are peer reviewed by searching the Journal title in Ulrich'sWeb Global Periodicals Directory. If the journal title is peer reviewed a referee's jersey icon is displayed.

Watch the brief online tutorial Scholarly vs non scholarly resources to learn more.

Key Databases that index the academic journal literature

Databases are online collections of resources that you can search to find information. Some databases cover a particular subject area and some cover a range of disciplines. Most library databases require a unikey login. Finding the most appropriate databases can involve scoping searches across a range of different systems.

Use Library databases to search for journal articles, chapters from books and reports. 

TIP: When searching databases think of synonyms, broader, narrower and related terms for the concepts you are searching. Use the features in the systems to refine your search (such as limiting by peer review or date) making the results more relevant.

BOOLEAN OPERATORS are used in database searching:

AND narrows your search, use AND to combine different concepts

OR broadens your search, use OR to combine synonyms or related terms.

Click on Databases for Social Work & Policy Studies for the best databases for social work research.


 Do you want to learn more about database searching?

Watch this short video called Search Smarter, Search Faster

Featured Databases

Borrow from another library- resource sharing

The Library will obtain journal articles, books, dissertations and other material for you that are not held in the Library's collections. Borrow from another library services are available to all students and staff at the University of Sydney. Use the Resource Sharing request form to place a request.

Find print and eJournals held at University of Sydney Library

Key Social Work Journals

Browse Library Search for journals in Social work

The Library considers any publication that comes out on a regular basis a Journal. Using Library Search, choose the Material type: Journals to search for a particular title/keyword or phrase to find journal titles, note the coverage dates of the Library subscription.

Most of the Library's subscriptions are for eJournals, although occasionally you will find one which is still in print format shelved with the books in the Fisher collection. There are links from the library record to the eJournal website where you can look at recent issues and articles; or select a volume and issue from an archiveIn most cases you will also see a search box you can use to search (using your keywords) for articles within the the online journal. 

Some journals are classified as Peer Reviewed, these articles go through an official editorial process that involves review and approval by the author's peers (people who are experts in the same subject area). If you are not sure if an article is peer reviewed check the Journal title in a database called Ulrichs. Ulrichs will give the Journal the status of "Refereed" if it is peer reviewed.

Finding Australian Government Reports

The Library has a helpful Guide to Finding Australian Government Reports.

Google can also be useful when searching for government documents, do an advanced search in Google and limit domain to .gov.au