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SOCW 2361 Introduction to Social Work: Searching Techniques

The Logic of Searching

Using Boolean Operators when searching will give you better, and more accurate, results.  

AND- Retrieves articles that contain all of the search terms and narrows down the results. 

OR- Retrieves articles with any of the terms and broadens the search.  

NOT- Eliminates articles containing the second term which narrows the search. 

Using Quotations or brackets will search for a phrase as a whole. 

Using Boolean logic and keywords are essential when searching library databases.  If you only search Google, you won’t get very far.  Google uses natural language, which is great when you want to find certain everyday things on the open web, but natural language doesn’t work in databases.  

Keywords

Courtesy of The University of West Florida Libraries

Types of Sources

Popular: Sources published in newspapers and magazines intended for general audience. 

Scholarly: Well researched sources that have been written for scholars, students, and experts in the discipline area.

Peer Reviewed: Articles that have been evaluated by other professionals in the field to check for accuracy and adherence to disciplinary standards.

Know the Difference

Article: Articles are the individual "stories" published in a newspaper, magazine, or journal. For example, the story about the Rangers published in Sports Illustrated is an article.

Journal: Journals contain several articles published about a specific subject area and are typically scholarly. For example, the article about stem cells was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Database: Databases index millions of articles published in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and journals. There are databases that index sources from many different discipline areas, while others are subject specific. For example, the New York Times can be accessed by searching the database Lexis Nexis Academic.