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Lucy Scribner Library

Social Work: Articles


Social Work Databases

Sociology & Psychology Databases

Additional Databases

Research in Social Work often crosses over and connects to other disciplines, so remember to try databases in related fields.

Journals Search

Search within a Specific Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper

Our Journal Search lets you search for any periodical (academic journal, magazine, or newspaper). It will tell you if we have access to the full-text of that publication, for what years, and in what databases. You can click on the database link to then browse or search within that specific publication.

What's an Empirical Article?

An empirical article (sometimes call an original research article) is a type of journal article where the author(s) have based their findings on some type of observation or experience (such as an experiment, case study, survey, focus group, field study, etc.).

Empirical articles will use particular headings to identify the different parts of the article. These often include:

  • Introduction
  • Literature or Literature Review
  • Methods or Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References

These headings may be different depending on the discipline of the article.


Article Search Tips

References from an Article

Research Tip #1: Look at the Bibliography

If you've found a source that works well for your research, look at their bibliography. There's probably going to be a couple of sources that they've used that you should use as well.

Article with the Cited By tool circled

Research Tip #2: See Who Else Has Cited a Source

Google Scholar and many of our databases have a "Cited By" or "Times Cited" tool that lets you see what other sources have cited an article. If you've got a good article, see who else cited it. You'll probably find a couple of other sources relevant to your research.

The Subject Terms part of an article record from a library database

Research Tip #3: Look at the Subject Terms

Many of our databases will assign Subjects or Subject Terms to the articles, identifying the main topics of that article. Look at the Subject Terms to see if there are other search terms you should be trying in a database.

Characteristics of Popular Sources
  • Publications often focus on a variety of topics or within a larger discipline.
  • Authors are typically staff writers or journalists.
  • Articles are written for the general public.
  • Articles tend to be shorter in length and provide more general information.
  • Sources are rarely listed within or at the end of an article.
Characteristics of Scholarly Sources
  • Publications often focus on a specific discipline or sub-discipline.
  • Authors are typically scholars and/or researchers.
  • Articles are written for faculty/researchers using technical terms and jargon.
  • Articles tend to be longer and focus on a very specific aspect of a topic.
  • Sources will be listed throughout and at the end of an article.
Peer Review
Also known as Refereed, peer review is a process where articles submitted to a journal for publication are reviewed by the author's peers (other scholars and researchers in the same field).  These peers determine if the article should be published and will also make recommendations for edits to the article before publication.
Video created by North Carolina State University Library
Limiting to Peer Reviewed Articles in the Databases
Most databases will offer a tool to limit your results to only articles from peer reviewed journals.  
No Peer Review Limiter
If you are in a database that does not offer a tool like this and must use a peer reviewed article, you can search the journal's website.  Usually, the website will provide information about the scope of the journal and whether articles go through a peer review process.