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Ferris Library for Information, Technology, and Education

SCWK 530 - Generalist Micro Practice: Getting Started


This page is designed to help you with library resources that you will find useful as you do your research.

Suggested search terms

Search for a certain methodology by adding it to your search; examples: quanitative, qualitative, longitudinal

Search for certain crime theories by putting the theory in quotes; examples: "general strain theory"

Search for a specific author; examples: theorists, well-known experts, authors of other articles that you found useful

Refresh your memory

Refresh your memory of or develop an understanding of basic concepts with these reference resources:


Why Develop a Search Strategy?

Before starting a search, it is helpful to clarify what you are looking for by developing a search strategy. Developing a search strategy is a useful practice for several important reasons.

  • Helps focus your search
  • Gives you something to work with
  • Saves you time in the long run
  • Helps you find larger amount of relevant information

Buliding a Search Strategy

Think about the focus of your question. Summarize your topic in one or two sentences or questions; try to be as specific as possible.

Example: How are children affected when their parents are prisoners?

Identify key concepts. Using your summarization, idenitfy the two or three main concepts.

Example: children prisoner parents

Select terms to describe your concepts. Remember to include other words that describe these concepts including synonyms, plurals, and variant spellings.

Example: children child; prisoner prisoners inmate inmates incarcerated; parents parent mother mothers father fathers

Use advanced searching options or limiters to narrow your results. If your results list is large, narrow down the results by date, material type, etc.

Build on what you've found. The research process is not linear but cyclical. When you find articles that seem relevant, use the subject headings, or descriptors, and citations from those articles to expand your search. This process will help you re-evaluate your ideas and refocus your search if necessary.

What if you absolutely cannot think of other search terms to describe your topic? Remember you can always email or call me!

Subject Guide

Stacy Anderson's picture
Stacy Anderson