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Social work, Social care and Community Studies

Where should I start when looking for journal literature?

This is a picture of books.

Where should I begin my search?

That is a really good question! It really depends on what information you are looking for! One of the quickest ways to find journal articles can be to type a few keywords into Library Search.

When you search Library Search, you are searching almost everything within the Library collections and this is why the search results can be so high in number.

Use the Library Search filters to reduce your search results:

  • articles - this will limit your results to only journal articles
  • online - very useful if you want to limit your results to online articles
  • peer-reviewed journals - very useful if you want to restrict your results to peer reviewed articles
  • publication date - think currency of content! Do you need to find everything back to 1592!

What is a journal?

Academic journals are written for a range of readers with different levels of experience and background knowledge.

Journals can range from being incredibly specialised to incredibly broad in the range of articles you can find within the journal. Within the journal, you can find articles of varying length which focus on a specific issue, challenge or development.

There are different types of articles published in journals that range in complexity. For example, two common article types are: 

  • review articles that summarise a range of  ideas from other journal articles about a specific topic.
  • original research articles that test an idea and report on the findings.

Within journals you can also find comments, letters or quite broad articles to help you keep up to date with developments in specific areas.

Articles are a rich source of primary and secondary information and can be written in a variety of different styles.

The choice of terminology can range from common, technical, medical and specialist depending on the intended audience.  You may find a term in an article that you have not read before or a process that you need more information about to help you understand the article fully.

What is a database?

A database is an online resource that contains information that can be searched.

Databases vary in content for example they can cover multiple subjects or be subject specific. There may be a selection criteria linked to the inclusion of information in the database.

The databases we have in the Library collection cover academic subjects and include advanced search options. For example, it can be easier in a database to limit to a specific article type, combine sets and have more field searching options available to you than within Library Search.

Key journal titles

It is important to scan the contents of key journals in your subject area on a regular basis to keep up to date with news and developments.  

To help get you started with exploring the literature, here is a list of journals within social work and social care:

This is not a definitive list of journals within your subject area and you will need to move beyond your reading lists and find relevant journals related to each assignment.

One way you can do this is to use Browze eJournals.

Browze eJournals is a way in which you can search our academic journals in one search. You can search by journal title, or subject. For example, you could put the words - social work - into the search box and find all the journals with those words in the title or feature social work as a major subject.

It is a great way to build up your subject knowledge of journals within your area.

Engaging with academic literature is something you will need to do through out your studies and career.

It can be daunting at first as professional literature can feel as if it has its own language and vocabulary. The tone can be very formal and writers may resume the reader has an existing level of knowledge about the subject. The good news is that we can build up our skills in this area and choose where to begin and use some techniques to help you engage with the literature.

Imagine instead of social work, you were studying astrophysics! If you were would you start your research with the most challenging literature that requires multiple years of working within the field to be able to understand what you are reading?

It may be easier to build up your knowledge, expertise and boost your confidence by beginning with articles in a less specialist publication with more of general overview of your field and work up to those more challenging publications!

Take a look at the short video below to find out more about how to read an academic paper also known as a journal article.

Social care journals databases

The databases below specialise in searching for journal articles on social work, social care and community studies.

What to do if the Library does not have the information you need.

If we don't have a journal article, book or conference proceeding in stock, you can request the information using the free Document Supply Service. While it may not be possible to get absolutely everything, the vast majority of articles can be obtained this way. 

Multidisciplinary journals databases

The databases below search a broad range of subjects, including social work, social care and community studies.