Welcome to the Masters of Social Work Guide!
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Find Print Books in the Library Catalog
Find eBooks in the Library Catalog
Articles & Databases
Journal Titles Search
Searching OCLS Databases
How to Conduct a Literature Review
How to Write a Literature Review
Field & Career Information
Interviewing for Field Placement
Resources for Instructors & Supervisors
APA Style & Grammar Help
OCLS & Research Help
Introduction to OCLS
Find Print Books:
Type your search in the box below! The catalog search will pop up in a new window.
Or click Advanced Search to bring up the catalog Advance Search in a new window.
Click Advanced Search to bring up the catalog Advance Search in a new window.
Or type your search in the box below! The catalog search will pop up in a new window.
You can search our eBook database collections below individually.
Links with a require an IWU login.
A multidisciplinary database covering all academic areas including social work and its subject specialties. Over 52,000 ebooks are available from over 150 publishers.
This collection contains more than 32,000 multidisciplinary e-books from more than 90 of the best university presses. The collection offers basic introductory texts to high-level research materials.
A collection of academic ebooks with over 200 titles in health and social care. The titles may be viewed in their entirety online or downloaded one chapter at a time. Select "content available to me" in the right-hand panel to view only the books that are available at IWU.
You may ask, "Why would I use an encyclopedia or reference book for my research?".
Reference books, such as encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries, provide foundational information, key terms and definitions, and important concepts in the field of social work, as well as bibliographies created by experts in the field.
Surveying available reference books is a great starting point for any research project and an important step in a literature review. Examining the key articles (often found in bibliographies) in your topic area is important to understanding the history of publications on a subject.
Links with a require an IWU login.
Credo Reference offers hundreds of full-text reference books across all academic disciplines, including sociology and social work. Search for your topic to discover articles, or browse the area of "social science" to view the available reference books in your interest area.
Gale Virtual Reference Library provides thousands of full-text articles in various areas of social work, such as culture, crime, gender, religion, and juvenile studies. Search all reference books using the box at the top of the screen, or click on a subject area in order to search only the books in that area.
Each database below indexes unique journals related to social work and provides either abstracts or full text articles. If the full text option is missing, look for Check Online Availability or Check Full Text Finder for Full Text to see whether it is available in another database or in print at the library.
For a complete list of social work databases that are available through OCLS, visit OCLS Social Work databases.
Links with a require an IWU login.
An international database covering communication, culture, education, ethnic and racial studies, religion, sociology, and more. Includes over 200,000 full-text, scholarly articles related to sociology/social work.
A database for the caring professions spanning the literature of education, health and social services, psychology, and sociology.
A database of over 2 million article and book citations dating from 1951 forward. Includes anthropology, archaeology, culture studies, education, ethnology, political science, religious studies, sociology, and more.
A database covering the breadth of social science, including anthropology, culture, education, ethnicity, gender, marriage and family, psychology, race, politics, religion, society and more.
Social Sciences Full Text provides sources covering a wide array of subjects, including addiction studies, ethics, public welfare, urban studies, and more, as well as the latest concepts, theories, and methods from both applied and theoretical aspects of the social sciences.
A union of several databases covering the international literature of the social sciences. Subjects include anthropology, cultural studies, education, ethnology, political science and policy studies, religious studies, sociology, and more.
A search platform for online journals that includes over 200 related to sociology and social work. Examples include Immigrants & Minorities, Journal of Children & Poverty, and Journal of Family Communication.
Are you looking for a specific article? If you know the journal or magazine the article is in, you can use the Journal Titles Search to see if OCLS has access to the journal or magazine.
The Journal Titles Search can be found on the OCLS homepage under Key Links.
Type your search in the box below! The Journal Titles Search will pop up in a new window.
Are you looking for current news in the area of social work?
This tutorial will walk you through how to find current news articles.
You can search any database for articles with content related to evidence-based practice.
Enter your search terms in separate search boxes and enter evidence-based in one of the search boxes.
Below you will find some online resources with evidence-based practice.
NGC is a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
The CEBC provides child welfare professionals with easy access to vital information about selected child welfare related programs. Each program is reviewed and rated utilizing the CEBC Scientific Rating scale to determine the level of evidence for the program. The programs are also rated on a Relevance to Child Welfare Rating Scale.
The Campbell Library of Systematic Reviews provides access to systematic reviews in the areas of education, criminal justice, and social welfare. The library is a peer-reviewed source of reliable evidence of the effects of interventions.
The Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community Guide) filters scientific literature on specific health problems. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services makes recommendations for the use of various interventions based on the evidence gathered in the rigorous and systematic scientific reviews of published studies.
This website offers research-tested intervention programs and products, review summaries and usefulness/integrity scores for each program, materials to adapt for use in your own program.
The SAMHSA Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center aims to provide communities, clinicians, policy makers, and others in the field with the information and tools they need to incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings. The Resource Center contains a collection of science-based resources and is part of SAMHSA’s new comprehensive approach to identify and disseminate clinically sound and scientifically based policy, practices, and programs.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse presents examples of research-based programs featuring a variety of strategies proven to be effective. Each program was developed as part of a research study, which demonstrated that over time youth who participated in the programs had better outcomes than those who did not.
Social Programs That Work, sponsored by the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, provides findings from randomized controlled trials that, in their view, have important policy implications due to the effectiveness of social interventions studied.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center Resources and Programs is an easy to search page for suicide prevention resources (articles, tools, fact sheets, reports, etc) and programs and practices (education, screening, treatment, environmental change, etc.).
A literature review is a critical summary and evaluation of existing theory and research on your topic. You will apply class discussion and readings to a specific research question and examine scholarly literature on the topic. Your review provides an overview of the sources you have studied and demonstrates how your research fits within the field.
Steps in the Literature Review Process
1. Identify a specific and well-defined research question.
Your literature review should outline the background and history of your research question, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of previous studies, and provide a framework and rationale for your individual study. Tell the story of your problem, how it has evolved, how it has been studied, and what is currently known about it.
2. Gather background information on your research question.
Search reference books in the field for your topic and identify the key concepts and questions surrounding your research question. In these reference works, you will likely find mention of seminal articles, studies, and authors in the history of your topic that you can incorporate into your review, and often there will be accompanying bibliographies.
Remember, internet searching can help generate ideas, but you will rarely find the scholarly [peer reviewed] research articles primarily required for a literature review.
3. Search library databases for articles and research related to your question.
Search several databases in your field (see the Articles & Databases tab of this guide) for literature on your topic. You will often find different results in each.
It may be a good idea to search the terms, "bibliography" or "literature review" along with your topic to generate articles that summarize related research. These may then serve as models for your own review. It may also be helpful to search using the terms, "research" or "study" in conjunction with your topic.
Searching using the subject terms used in a database for your topic often returns the most relevant results. Use the subject terms found in the database you are searching whenever possible.
Make sure to use separate search boxes in a database for each term you are searching for. Connect each box with AND or OR. Do not combine your terms all in one box.
4. Analyze and interpret the literature selected for your review.
Literature reviews may be organized chronologically, methodologically, or by theme. Consult with your instructor to determine the general structure required for your review. Then summarize and critically examine each source, relating it to your research question, particularly noting any gaps or questions generated by the research. Be selective with what you include in your summary, including only what is most relevant to your research question.
Be careful to paraphrase in your analysis and use quotes sparingly. The purpose of your review is for you to interpret the literature and related it to your research question, not to strictly summarize or document what other authors have already written. Keep your own voice by making sure to open and close paragraphs with your own ideas.
5. Mistakes to avoid
Field & Career Information
Below you will find some online resources about fieldwork and professional preparation.
NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.
Offers many links and resources for those entering the field of school social work
Offers resources specific to clinical practice, such as HIPAA, Medicare, and ethical guidelines, as well as job boards and online webinars.
Laurie Hitchcock, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, explores ways to enhance lifelong learning for professional practice, including online networking.
Evidence-based indicators and data on child well-being across the United States. The Kids Count Data Center is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Licensing Board or College Websites, Statues, and Administrative Rules
A searchable database of available websites related to licensing. Provided by the Association of Social Work Boards.
Questions an Agency May Ask:
Academic Writer is the official APA writing platform. You can concentrate on writing the content of your paper and Academic Writer automatically formats your papers in APA Style format.
Visit the Academic Writer Guide for on-demand tutorials to help you sign up and get started!
Your program requires you to use APA Style 7th Edition.
Visit the APA Style Guide for the APA 7th Edition Paper Template and the OCLS APA 7e Guide!
Grammarly with Premium features is available to IWU students for free. There are specific steps to sign up or you will be charged a fee.
Visit the Grammarly Guide to learn how to sign up and how to use Grammarly to check your papers for grammar and spelling errors.
This video is a brief introduction to IWU Off Campus Library Services.
Do you need help with a specific research topic? Contact Off Campus Library Services and request a Personalized Search Plan!
Personalized Search Plans (PSPs) tell you where to go, what to do, and how to do it. Your PSP will suggest the best online database(s) and search term(s) to use. Depending on what kinds of information you need, your PSP might help you to find appropriate print books, e-books, or journal articles.
Each PSP includes step-by-step directions to find trusted sources for your assignments and customized to your needs.
To request your Personalized Search Plan, fill out an Online Request for Services Form and let us know your topic and what kinds of information you need – books, e-books, journal articles, websites; or, if you need peer reviewed or research-based information.
PSP requests are answered within one (1) business day, not including weekends. Requests that are received by noon on Friday will be answered that same day.
OCLS provides limited service on Saturday and is closed Sunday and all university holidays and holiday weekends, so we encourage you to ask for your Personalized Search Plan early in your workshop weeks whenever possible.
This video will help you with SOC-582 research.