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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 from the Library called Scholarly vs non scholarly resources to learn more.

Search for Journals in the Library Catalogue

Key Journals

Browse our Library catalogue for journals in Social work

The Library considers any publication that comes out on a regular basis a Journal. From the Library Catalogue, use the search type Journal title to search for a particular title and 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 catalogue record to the eJournal website where you can look at recent issues and articles or select a volume and issue from an archive.

In most eJournals you will also see a search box you can use to search the online issues for particular keywords or phrases (to search phrases put them in double quotes). 

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.


Key Databases that index the academic journal literature

Databases are online collections of resources that you can search to find information. Some of the database cover a particular subject are and some cover a range of disciplines. Most library database 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.

 Watch this short video called Search Smarter, Search Faster

Featured Database: Sage Research Methods

A tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. It focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, so can be used across the social, behavioural, & health sciences, and more. It helps you design and conduct your own research projects, understand and teach research methods, and write up findings. Includes journal, book, & reference content, quantitative & qualitative tools.

Look at the Research Tools tab at the top of the screen to help you choose statistical methods and plan your project.

Use the advanced search  to search by keyword or phrase and to narrow your search by content type and discipline.

See below the most often used Social Work databases..

Document Delivery for PG & Hons Students and Staff

The Library will obtain journal articles, books, dissertations and other material for you that are not held in the Library's collections. Document Delivery services area available to all currently enrolled honours, masters, postgraduate and higher degree research students at the University of Sydney. 


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