Systematically identifying relevant research: Case study on child protection social workers’ resilience

Paula McFadden, Brian J Taylor, Anne Campbell, Janice McQuilkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
165 Downloads (Pure)


Context: The development of a consolidated knowledge base for social work requires rigorous approaches to identifying relevant research. Method: The quality of ten databases and a web search engine were appraised by systematically searching for research articles on resilience and burnout in child protection social workers. Results: ASSIA, Social Services Abstracts and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) had greatest sensitivity, each retrieving more than double any other database. PsycINFO and CINAHL had highest precision. Google Scholar had modest sensitivity, and good precision in relation to the first 100 items. SSCI, Google Scholar, Medline and CINAHL retrieved the highest number of hits not retrieved by any other database.Conclusion: A range of databases is required for even modestly-comprehensive searching. Advanced database searching methods are being developed but the profession requires greater standardisation of terminology to assist in information retrieval
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-636
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2012


  • Databases
  • bibliographic
  • evidence based practice
  • information storage and retrieval
  • review literature as topic
  • systematic literature searching


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