My hope is for you to experience the library as something that is:
Useful: it helps with your research and university experience.
Usable: it is not difficult to figure out.
Desirable: you enjoy your experience in the library or using library systems.
Aside from this, I want to make questions like, "How do I know what I know?", "How is authority and/or credibility established?", and, "What perspectives have been excluded or included in this information?" more prevalent in your research.
1. Determine a topic: Pick something that interests you and try to find an aspect that you can narrow down. This is a good time to use encyclopedias/reference sources (e.g.,Encyclopedia of Canadian Social Work , CREDO Reference, SAGE Research Methods Online, Blackwell Reference), Google Scholar, Google, Wikipedia, news publications, and blogs.
2. Formulate a focused research question/thesis: neither too broad nor too narrow. This is tricky and will take practice. You can start by answering "who," "what," "why," "when," "where," and "how" questions. Set some parameters (e.g., dates, geographic location, demographic information), but be ready to change them. Here are some more strategies.
4. Identify possible types of useful information: scholarly articles (including research articles), systematic reviews, literature reviews, statistics, legislation, government reports, and or public policy documents.
5. Make a list of sites and databases where you can find these types of information. The Social Work Subject Guide is a good place to start. You can also do a general search in the library catalogue. This is a very important step.
6. Combine keywords, phrases, subject headings into search queries: Try many different searches and combinations of terms. Expect that it will take at least 10 different searches to get a good feel for what is out there.
7. Keep track of interesting articles! (see slide on Zotero below)
This is an example from Academic Search Compete's Thesaurus (EBSCOhost database)
Provide you with field-specific information and resources:
Phrase searching: most search engines allow for phrase searching. This means that you can search for whole phrases (e.g., "child welfare") instead of individual words (e.g., "child" + "welfare). Just put the phrase you want to search in quotation marks. This will help narrow your results!
**You can find some video tutorials on search strategies here
Boolean Operators (AND/OR/NOT): These are words that cause search engines to modify their behaviour according to the given word or "operator." Let's look at this diagram to get a better idea.
A search for trauma AND "social work" will find results that contain both terms and will exclude results that only have one of the two terms.
A search for trauma OR "social work" will find results that contain either of the search terms. This will generate more results. Handy for synonyms.
A search for trauma NOT "social work" will find results that contain trauma but do NOT contain "health care." Use this sparingly and play around with it.
"child wefare" AND "social Work"
Note: When you open a result, click on the details tab to look at the "Subjects" field to find related materials
Limit to peer-reviewed and full text online
Limit to resource type (e.g. articles)
Limit by publication date
Limit to location if you want print resources
Since this a test let's put in the same search in the general search bar:
Scholarly (Peer Reviewed Journals)
Publication Date (e.g., 2012 to 2017)
Subject: "child welfare"
Add "(single OR lone)" to subject search
Add "("systematic review" OR "meta-analysis" OR "meta-analytic" OR "literature review")" to subject search
1. Backward footnote/reference chasing (looking at cited literature--looking backward): Some databases, including our catalogue, provide direct links to literature cited in the article you are reading. Scopus, Web of Science, and GoogleScholar can provide more advanced features. Keep in mind that some books have detailed bibliographies of both archival and published sources.
2. Forward citation searching (looking at literature that cites the article you are reading--looking forward): See #1. This is a bit more difficult to do than #1 (relies on heavily on search technology). Here is a highly cited example in Web of Science. GoogleScholar also has this functionality.
3. Journal searching: Straightforward. If you find or know of a relevant journal, you can then search within it. For example if you want articles on Canadian social policy and/or Social Work, you can search within (i) the Canadian Social Work Review or the Canadian review of social policy. This can simplify search queries. For example, in the case of the above two journals this means that you do not have to find ways to limit your articles to Canadian content (this is not always the case, but it is a handy tool).
3. Area or collocation scanning: If you are looking at physical books, you can go the the shelves and see what near a book you know is of interest. Our catalogue let's you do this virtually, but I recommend going the sift through the physical books if you have a chance. For example Finkel's (2006) Social Policy and Practice in Canada has other titles such as Social welfare in Canada in the 1980's : The challenge of social growth next to it. You can also "virtually" scan areas by looking at subject headings (see above slides).
4. Author-based searching: If you find an author that has written a decent article or book on social welfare policy, then there is a good chance that they have written other works on the same and/or similar topics. Most databases, including our catalogue, have an advanced search option that allows searching by author name. Google will also let you do the same thing (depending on whether the author has a GoogleScholar profile, this database can be very effective--allowing to see citation counts and related articles). Regardless, try multiple sources (no database has perfect coverage).
Grey literature is information that is usually not purely academic nor is it usually commercially published. This includes publications from government departments/agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry.
Types of grey literature include reports, white papers, policy documents, data sets, dissertations, standards, etc...
Grey literature is found in a number of places (e.g.,our catalogue, databases, Google, GoogleScholar, organizational/government/industry websites)
Go to Google and put "site:" + the general web address of the entity you want to search + a space + any keywords OR phrases you want to look up
site:www.policyalternatives.ca "social welfare"
For example, to search CCPA:
(1) Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2014 - Statistics Canada (2)The Daily — Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2014 - Statistics Canada (3)Juristat – Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2014 - StatCan (4)Towards the Development of a National Data Collection Framework to Measure Trafficking in Persons, 2010-StatCan
site:www.canadianwomen.org "sex trafficking"
(1) End Sex Trafficking | Canadianwomen.org, n.d. (2)[pdf] AN ASSESSMENT OF SEX TRAFFICKING IN CANADA, 2012 (3)Day 15: Sex Trafficking is a Human Rights Issue, 2015
There are plenty of Academic Libraries that use a version of the CRAAP test. My take was inspired by this particular one from Western University.
1. Once you have a general topic, choose something more specific that interests you about it. You may have come across something while you were browsing reference sources
2. Ask the 5W's+H (see previous page, section).
3. Identify the main issues/problems/areas of your topic. Are there any controversies?
4. Do some scoping research (see previous page, section 1) and see if there are major authors or articles that come up frequently.
5. Start formulating a research question. Generally, avoid questions that can be answered with a "yes" or "no." Keep questions open-ended! Avoid questions that include a conclusion (bias).
6. Your question should contain identifiable keywords based on your knowledge of the topic (through your scoping search).
-Numerous identifiable keywords based on terminology.
-Scope is somewhat focused geographically (could be more specific) and topically (i.e., not simply all substances)
-Few keywords. Not using appropriate terminology.
-Question does not seem to be informed by any scoping/exploratory research
-Broad and ambiguous
Example of a concept map for the research question: “How can nations justify the ascription of refugee status to
Red = MAIN CONCEPTS
Blue = SYNONYMS
Orange = RELATED TERMS