Social Work

Research help for Social Work faculty, staff, and students.

Research is a Cycle

Research is a cyclical process. This image attempts to lay that cycle out for you. Notice how thinking/analyzing and writing down your thoughts and findings are at the center of the cycle.

Walkthrough of the research process

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a topic can be one of the most difficult parts of the research process. Remember that research is fluid; your topic will adapt, and even completely change, as you do your research!

This short video [3:11] from North Carolina State University gives some great advice on choosing a research topic.

Choosing Databases to Search

Searching Library Databases

Database searching is different from Google searching.

  • Break your topic into keywords (or key concepts)
    • Combine with AND to get fewer results (homelessness AND college students)
    • Combine with OR to get more results (college OR university)
  • Try different searches using different combinations of your keywords
  • As you skim your results, look for new keywords or ideas that relate to your topic
  • Keep trying! Searching often takes time and requires multiple searches in a few different databases
  • Ask for help

When searching in databases, you can use limits (normally on the left of your search results page) to focus on specific publication years, article types, etc.

Database Search Techniques: Tutorials

Your Librarian

Renae Watson's picture
Renae Watson
Schedule a virtual research consultation

Ask Me About:

  • Finding articles, books, & more
  • Citing sources
  • Purchasing books & more
  • Information literacy instruction
Ph: 970-491-5338
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