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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

Social Work

A guide to Social Work resources and library research.

E-Reference Resources

The following e-reference resources are useful for getting background information on topics of interest.

Background info gives you key terms associated with your topic making it easier to search for scholarly materials.  

These resources can also help you with finding topic ideas or narrowing your topic. 

CQ Researcher 

Browse by topic or conduct a "Quick search" for a broad term.  The results should give you related issues to consider focusing your research on, and you can link to reports on these issues that include overviews, outlook, chronology, maps/graphs, etc.

Encyclopedia of Social Work

Electronic Edition of the NASW's encyclopedia via Oxford University Press.

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Included in its "Social Science" section, this database provides us with the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood, Major Acts of Congress, and the Encyclopedia of Population.  The "Medical" section features the Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders.


Oxford Reference Center

Includes:  Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History of North America

And the following reference resources:  Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Dictionary of Public Health, and Encyclopedia of Social Work.  Click on "Subjects & Books" for a complete listing.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center *

Try a "Subject Guide" search for a broad topic like "Social work" or "Substance abuse."  You'll get a list of related subjects and subdivisions of the topic that include links to resources in the database.


Oxford Bibliographies logo

From Oxford University Press, online subject guides to the most important and significant sources in an area of study chosen by leading scholars in the field. The guides feature a selective list of bibliographic citations supported by direct recommendations about which sources to consult. The citations link out to the sources via your library collection or through Google books and more.


Sage Reference Online

Includes reference titles on such topics as: Aging & Gerontology;Counseling & Psychotherapy; Family Studies; Gender & Sexuality Studies; Health & Social Welfare; Social Issues; Social Work & Social Policy; and more!  Includes the Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America among other useful titles.



Search the full print editions of numerous national newspapers via these library links.  Free unlimited access unlike many of their online versions.

TOOLS for Getting Started

Assignment Calculators/Planners & Understanding Your Assignment

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Image from Giorgio Montersino via Flickr

Concept (or Mind) Mapping Tools

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Find topic ideas from the NASW Press Room

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A good place to start...

Some discussion of what makes the Encyclopedia of Social Work a good source of information.  Found on the "Getting Started" page of this LibGuide it is a good place for background info on a topic, ideas for references, and ideas for key terms to search for when searching for scholarly/peer reviewed articles in databases.