Social Work Literature Searching: Current Issues With Databases and Online Search Engines

Tony Mc Ginn, Brian Taylor, Mary McColgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: To compare the performance of a range of search facilities; and to illustrate the execution of a comprehensive
literature search for qualitative evidence in social work. Context: Developments in literature search methods and comparisons
of search facilities help facilitate access to the best available evidence for social workers. Method: The performance of 14
databases and web search engines was appraised, by applying a search formula for articles relating to perpetrators of intimate
partner violence and the process of change. Results: Seventy-two out of seventy-eight relevant articles were found on just six of
the search facilities used. Social Services Abstracts performed the best. Web search engines did not contribute any unique hits.
Conclusion: The need to use a range of databases was confirmed. Databases have performed inconsistently across case studies
to date. New approaches to pilot-testing facilities and search terms proved useful. Accessing qualitative evidence to inform
practice must become more straightforward.
LanguageEnglish
Article numberDOI: 10.1177/1049731514549423
Pages266-277
Number of pages11
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

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search engine
social work
evidence
mobile social services
performance
social worker
violence
literature

Keywords

  • database searching
  • literature review
  • evidence based practice
  • social work
  • Intimate partner violence

Cite this

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Social Work Literature Searching: Current Issues With Databases and Online Search Engines. / Mc Ginn, Tony; Taylor, Brian; McColgan, Mary.

In: Research on Social Work Practice, Vol. 26, No. 3, DOI: 10.1177/1049731514549423, 01.04.2016, p. 266-277.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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