Social Work: Information sources

Guide to locating relevant resources for Social Work assessment tasks and projects.

Slides- Information Sources

Films, Documentaries, Television

Loading ...

Books & Journals

A good way to find books is to use an online catalogue such as the Monash University Library Search catalogue.


  • More recent editions may include information not found in previous editions
  • Authors may discuss different aspects of a topic or present the information in different ways - reading widely can help with your understanding
  • Once you have a basic understanding of the topic, searching for journal articles may help you to learn more and access the most current information.

The Monash Library has both print and electronic online books

Social Work print collection at Caulfield

Finding e-books in Library Search

Reference works include dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks, and are
useful guides for:

  • finding definitions of social work terms and brief factual information,
  • overview of social work theory and frameworks.

Monash has a collection of both print and online reference works.

Social Work & Healthcare Encyclopedias

Other useful reference works

When researchers want to make the findings of their work public, they may publish them in scholarly/academic journals. 

  • each issue contains a collection of articles written by different authors
  • articles published weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the publication
  • the best place to access the most recent research
  • authoritative information on older research.
  • articles are usually peer-reviewed

Most journal titles have now been digitised and are available in full-text online

See here for more information on how to find individual journal titles in the Monash collection.

A list of some of the Social Work journal titles available through the Monash Library

Searching individual journal titles will only find journal articles that have been published within those selected titles.

In order to make your search more efficient and to search across a large number of journals in your field of research in one search box, it is better to search within relevant library Database collections.

Library Databases:

  • are compiled of hundreds of different journal titles
  • may include newspapers, book chapters and conference papers
  • can be subject area focused or cover a range of subject areas
  • allow searching by author, subject , or keywords


A selection of relevant Database collections for Social Work research.

See here for a complete list

Not sure if your journal article is academic or peer reviewed? View this short video:

Alerting services assist researchers in keeping up-to-date with current literature in a discipline.

 Search Alerts include;

Saved Search Alerts

Journal TOC (Table of Contents Alerts)

Citation Alerts

Loading ...

Grey Literature

Grey Literature is "information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body."
(GreyNet: Grey Literature Network Service, 

Some examples of grey literature include:

Why search grey literature?

Search tip: use Google to search across multiple Australian, state, territory and local government website pages by including (or to limit to Victorian bodies) in your search e.g.

Archived government websites
Find material that is no longer available via current Australian government websites or simple web searches. This can be a good way to access policy documents from previous governments.

'Australian Government Web Archive (AGWA) is a web archiving initiative of the National Library of Australia...a collection of Commonwealth Government websites.' - Home. Collection began in June 2011 however some older material may be available.

Search across a selection of archived Australian websites.

A 'clearinghouse' is an organisation that provides research, data and other information relating to a particular issues in order to raise awareness and facilitate discussion. This information can support a range of people and organisations including activists, service providers, researchers and government agencies.

Loading ...