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SWL 201: Intro to Social Work & Social Welfare: Home

Intro to Social Work & Social Welfare

Not sure where to begin?

Not sure where to begin? Opposing Viewpoints in Context is an excellent starting place. 

Opposing Viewpoints simplifies your search by bringing together thousands of resources to provide authoritative articles, research reports, videos, and statistics. This database helps you draw your own conclusions about global warming, the minimum wage, and hundreds of other debated topics.

Watch this video by Gale, A Cengage Company to learn more about how you can use Opposing Viewpoints in Context to start your research. 

Getting Started

The building block of any library resource search is keywords. Keywords are central ideas or terms within your research question or problem. 

Once you have your keywords identified (2-3 is a good place to begin), you then need to connect them together in a way the database understands how to search. This is done using the Boolean search operators AND, OR, and NOT. Connecting keywords using these search operators creates a search string. 

  • AND - narrow search, used to combine terms together and focus search results
  • OR - broad search, used to includes results that contain similar or like words, such as synonyms
  • NOT - narrow search by exclusion, used to exclude results containing a particular keyword

We call the written version of your keywords with boolean search operators the search string. Writing your search string at the beginning of your research process will help you better approach searching in library resources.

Example search string
counseling AND children AND grief OR loss

Navigating the Library Homepage

Categories of Research

There are several different ways you will explore research for your social problems/social issues project:

  1. The social, political, & economic atmosphere
    This research demonstrates the current climate of your topic and it's history. Best resources to use for this aspect of your project includes:
    1. Library Databases/Scholarly Articles - particularly the introductions or literature reviews in scholarly articles.
    2. Government websites.
    3. Organization websites specifically about your topic. 
  2. Individuals &/or organizations &/or groups making inroads into bringing about needed change
    This research demonstrates current work being done to solve or alleviate this particular problem. Best resources to use for this aspect of your project includes: 
    1.  Library Databases/Scholarly Articles - particularly those articles discussing solutions to the problem.
    2. Organization websites specifically about your topic. 
    3. Organization/company websites actively working to solve the problem.
  3. News items and articles from professional journals
    This research demonstrates how your topic appears in the news and what the current conversation is about this topic. Best resources to use for this aspect of your project includes: 
    1.  Library Databases/Scholarly Articles - particularly those articles discussing current practices within the field.
    2. News sources such as New York Times, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal
    3. Popular press magazines such as Time, Economist, the Atlantic, and more 

Need Help?

Have a Quick Question?

Librarians are here to help you find information and plan your research. A librarian is normally available at the following times:

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Please ask at the Circulation Desk for assistance or click on the blue button to book a librarian.

[email protected]

978 867 4008



Have a Longer Question?

Need help with:

  • Finding sources for research?
  • Managing citations and citation software, like Zotero?
  • Narrowing a topic for a research project?