Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Social Work

What are scholarly sources?

In basic terms, scholarly sources are written by scholars for scholars and go through a scholarly publication process. This scholarly publication process usually includes some form of peer-review, which means it is vetted by experts in the field and therefore considered more credible than information that hasn't gone through this process.

Often in social work, you will be looking for scholarly articles that include empirical studies. Empirical studies are important because they provide the evidence that the conclusions of the article are based on. Below you will find some of the best places to locate these types of articles and some tips for how to search for them.

Resources

The Logic of Searching

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

  1.  AND- Retrieves articles that contain all of the search terms and narrows down the results. 
  2. OR- Retrieves articles with any of the terms and broadens the search.  
  3. NOT- Eliminates articles containing the second term which narrows the search. 
  4. Using Quotations or brackets will search for a phrase as a whole. 
  5. 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.  

Boolean Basics