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Social Work: Find information sources

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

Monash University Library has scholarly/academic books held in print format at our campus libraries, online, or both.

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 theories and frameworks.
How do I know if my sources are scholarly/academic?
  • not a general interest book
  • written for an academic audience
  • extensive referencing
  • published by reputable scholarly or university presses
  • authors are subject matter experts usually affiliated with a university

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

  • issues contain a collection of articles written by different authors
  • published weekly, monthly or quarterly, depending on the publication
  • articles are usually focused on recent research and are usually peer-reviewed
Some recommended journals:

The video below is an explanation of peer-review by the publisher Wiley

Not sure if your journal is academic or peer reviewed?Use Ulrich's below to search your journal title. The entry in this database will give you the details of your journal, including whether it is pee-reviewed or not.

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

To make your search more efficient searching across a large number of journals in your field it's better to search within relevant databases.

  • 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

Try different relevant databases for Social Work from our complete list. Or perhaps try the databases listed below.

Most online journals and databases allow you to set up alerts to new articles on your topic. Your search strategy will be saved and you'll receive a notification when new articles matching your search criteria are published or indexed. The PDF below describes how to set up alerts in popular health databases including PubMed and Scopus.

News articles can be a good source of information on recent events, policies, developments and their impact on the local populations, public perceptions, and responses. However, newspapers are not acceptable academic sources unless as objects of research. You can access our databases that index newspapers such as The Herald Sun or The Age including:

Factiva which requires a bit of assistance to use effectively - watch this quick online tutoriaBasics of searching Factiva

Also, check out the guide below for more tips and info on the Library's news resources.

Grey or gray literature is a term that usually relates to unpublished (in the traditional sense) research material. Such material is often a good source of up-to-date research and may provide additional information to inform your understanding of a topic. Searching the grey literature may also ensure a comprehensiveness of searching that is desirable to avoid publication bias. As with other types of information, it is necessary to critically evaluate grey literature to ensure that it is of high quality.

AACODS checklist for evaluating the quality of grey literature

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

Example:

Archived websites

The Australian Web Archive includes content from the following collections. All content is accessible through a single search service through Trove. Content can be searched by website URL or by keywords and phrases.

  • The PANDORA Archive
  • The Australian Government Web Archive (AGWA)
  • Whole Australian (.au) domain collection

Since 2007 the National Library of Australia, in partnership with the Internet Archive, has been selecting, collecting and archiving copies of Asia/Pacific websites through a service called Archive-It

NB. 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.