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Library Research Guides

Social Work

Provides resources for social work research at the University of Michigan.

Quotation Marks

You can narrow your search by enclosing a phrase or group of words with quotation marks.

 

"adult obesity" - Searches for the times when these two words are next to each other in this exact order.

 adult obesity [without quotation marks] - searches for these two word, regardless of if they happen to appear together or not. You may get an item in your list of results which is a book or an article about childhood obesity but also talks about an adult caregiver, for example. Quotation marks give your search more precision.

Truncation and Wildcards

Truncation means you include a special character at the end of your search term which will broaden your search to include any word that starts with that group of letters.

behavio* = Finds not only the word flavor but also  behaviour, behavior, behaviors, behavioral, and other variant endings.

child* = Finds the word child, along with childhood, children, etc. (This can also pick up personal names, like Childress or Childs, so your search result may be muddied when you truncate.)

 

Using a Wildcard in your search means you can insert a symbol anywhere in a search term not just at the end, like the example above.

wom?n = Finds both women and woman

Not all databases use truncation and wildcards, so check the Help pages for that database if you're not sure.

Boolean Operators

 

overlapping circles with all areas colored

"domestic violence" OR "child abuse"

Includes all the information on domestic violence as well as
all information on child abuse. Use OR to broaden a search.

 

 

two circles - only the area common to both is colored

"domestic violence" AND "child abuse"

Includes only information which includes both of
these phrases. Use AND to narrow a search.

 

 

two circles - only one is colored

"domestic violence" NOT "child abuse"

Includes information which includes the phrase
"domestic violence" but only if that information does not
include the phrase "child abuse."Use NOT to narrow a search.

Follow the Citations

It is easy to follow reference citations from an article to get older research on the same topic by reviewing the bibliography. Some databases also allow you to see which articles have cited an article forward. For example you may have found an excellent article in the database Social Services Abstracts from the year 2002. If other articles since 2002 have studied this same article and cited it in their own papers Social Services Abstracts will include a link to these articles so you can follow the research forward from 2002.

The Literature Review

Need some help and tips on performing a literature review? Try one of these books.