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Social Work Courses & Research

Project Topic

Research groups: poverty simulation group and home-delivered meals.

Library Session Materials 9/14

APA citation formula for encyclopedias:

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (edition if given and is not first edition).


Rank, M. R. (2013). Poverty. In T. Mizrahi & L. E. Davis (Ed.), Encyclopedia of social work (20th ed.).

Mining Encyclopedia Entries

The Encyclopedia of Social Work is available digitally through Vogel Library. Be sure to use the search box on the left of the page.

(The one at the top of the page searches all of Oxford Reference and not just the Encyclopedia of Social Work.)

screenshot of left side of screen search bar on Encyclopedia of Social Work landing page

Mine the encyclopedia article.

Look for related subjects, alternate phrases or spelling, and broad, topic-level information. 

screenshot of oppression entry in the Encyclopedia of Social Work

Encyclopedia mining tutorial 

Additional social work research resource

Library Session Materials 9/12

Doing research

Searching like a researcher 


1. Locate peer-reviewed articles from your field.

For Social Work research, you are going to use SocINDEX (link below).

2. Track your research process.

One calculated search cannot return all of the results you need. Instead, you will need to explore each topic area on its own and then in combination with each other. If you don't have a record-keeping system, you are going to lose track of what you have and haven't done. For this step, use a spreadsheet to keep a log, save citations of relevant articles to RefWorks, or use your own way of tracking. 

3. Remember, research isn't linear.

As you do research, you will learn new information. It's okay (and recommended) to reconsider and make changes to your research strategy. The topics that end up in your literature review may not be the exact ones you set out to research. With this in mind, make sure to check in with your professor if you have any topic-related questions or concerns for this project. 

Evaluation: Three questions

What is it? Why do I care? What does it really say?

You answer these three questions every time you use a source, whether you know it or not.

  • Whether it is a website or a scholarly journal article...
  • Whether it is for a 1st-year course or real life...

Start noticing how you answer these questions to ensure your sources are really meeting your needs.


The Three Questions:

  • What is it: What is the source type and author credibility?
    • Quick Wikipedia checks are okay! You can also compare what other source say about that source.
  • Why do I care: Does the source type and author credibility meet your needs?
    • Decide this at the beginning so you know whether to read the material or find something better.
  • What does it really say: Perceive how the word choices influence the knowledge.
    • The author's word choices, included and excluded information, and the aim of the publication all make a difference in how or why you would use a source.

How to read a scholarly article

how to read a scholarly article infographic

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