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See the Social Work detailed guide especially for information on Government Information, Statistics and Special Topics.
Reading for Graduate School
Thesis & Dissertation Writing Guides
- Critical reading and writing for postgraduates
- Research literacies and writing pedagogies for masters and doctoral writers
Complete list of Thesis and Dissertation databases
Online Dissertation Guides
Finding academic literature
OMNI is a good place to start.
- Use the Social Work quick and detailed guides for finding databases and other resources.
- Do not limit yourself to Social Work databases alone: See Databases by Subject list.
Search Alerts help researchers stay current with what is being published in their area of interest through automatic e-mail alerts from databases and electronic journal services.
- Directory of Open Access Journals
- Open access at Carleton
- Open access journals published at Carleton
- Advocate's Forum (University of Chicago)
- Canadian Association of Social Work Education: Student article competition
- Considering Disability
- Ethics and Social Welfare: Jo Campling Memorial Prizes
- Michigan Journal of Social Work and Social Welfare
Journals recommended by faculty members
Faculty in the School of Social Work suggest the following journals.
- Australian Social Work
- British Journal of Social Work
- CCPA Monitor (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
- Canadian Public Policy
- Canadian Review of Social Policy
- Canadian Social Work Review
- Child and Family Social Work
- Clinical Social Work Journal
- Critical Social Policy
- Disability and Society
- Journal of Family Social Work
- Journal of Progressive Human Services
- Native Social Work Journal
- Policy Options
- Social Work with Groups
- Studies in Political Economy
Some are available only in print; others are available in print and electronic format. Check UlrichsWeb for information about individual journals.
Grey Literature: What is it? How to find it?
Grey literature is an important source of information in arts and social science research that:
- adds a valuable global perspective
- provides detailed overviews on specific populations
- may be only source of local information
|Grey literature is defined as "information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing" ie. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997. Expanded in New York, 2004|
Types of grey literature
- Government information
- Dissertations and theses
- Conference proceedings
- Newspapers and magazines
- Grey Literature Guide (Carleton Library)
- OMNI (the Library's main search box) (change Content Type to types of grey literature such as government documents, conference proceedings etc.)
- Dissertations and Theses Global
- Google Scholar (change country, for example, to find international material)
- Government information (customized Google search)
- Databases such as Canadian Business and Current Affairs and Web of Science
- Business Source Complete (select publication type "Grey literature")
- Think Tanks
- Canadian Public Policy Collection (No new information after 2019)
- Grey Net (an international directory of organizations in Grey Literature and a repository)
- Grey Literature Database - Canadian Evaluation Society
- Finding the Hard to Finds: Searching for Grey Literature (University of British Columbia)
Scoping and Systematic Reviews
For an excellent introduction to writing a literature review, watch this video: Am I the Only One Struggling to Write a Literature Review?
What are the Purposes of a Literature Review?
- situate your work in its discipline/area/subfield
- develop an understanding of how knowledge in your discipline/field/area has changed over time
- develop mastery of what's known in your area, and part of the larger discipline that contains it
- compare different conceptual or sub-disciplinary approaches to your topic
- compare and contrast different theoretical schools or leading researchers in your area
- identify methodologies that you might use in your work
Read other literature reviews to get a handle on how they are written. How do I search a database for a literature review that someone has written already?
Some databases include "literature review" as one of the limit options you can set before or after doing your search: your search will retrieve only literature reviews. PsycInfo allows for this under Advanced Search.
However in most databases, you will have to add a term for "literature review" to your search. You'll soon get to know the terms that your discipline uses for literature reviews, one or more of:
- review article
- systematic review
- critical review
- literature review
- meta-analysis, meta analysis
- re-analysis of data
Questions to ask yourself while reading your articles (with thanks to University of Toronto - The Literature Review: A Few Tips)
- Has the author formulated a problem/issue?
- Is it clearly defined? Is its significance (scope, severity, relevance) clearly established?
- Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective?
- What is the author’s research orientation (e.g., interpretive, critical science, combination)?
- What is the author’s theoretical framework (e.g., psychological, developmental, feminist)?
- What is the relationship between the theoretical and research perspectives?
- Has the author evaluated the literature relevant to the problem/issue? Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with?
- In a research study, how good are the basic components of the study design (e.g., population, intervention, outcome)? How accurate and valid are the measurements? Is the analysis of the data accurate and relevant to the research question? Are the conclusions validly based upon the data and analysis?
- In material written for a popular readership, does the author use appeals to emotion, one-sided examples, or rhetorically-charged language and tone? Is there an objective basis to the reasoning, or is the author merely “proving” what he or she already believes?
- How does the author structure the argument? Can you “deconstruct” the flow of the argument to see whether or where it breaks down logically (e.g., in establishing cause-effect relationships)?
- In what ways does this book or article contribute to our understanding of the problem under study, and in what ways is it useful for practice? What are the strengths and limitations?
- How does this book or article relate to the specific thesis or question I am developing?
While reading take note of the following for each article:
- The main arguments and thesis of each article
- The methodology used
- How this research article advances a specific field of research
- What might be lacking in the article
Once you are familiar with the individual articles you have examined, look for patterns among them.
Hint: constructing a chart to organize your findings visually often makes it easier to discern various kinds and degrees of similarity and difference.
Choose a structure for your review:
- Chronological - Trace the development of the topic over time.
- Thematic - If you find recurring central themes, organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.
- Methodological - If your sources are from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods, you can compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches.
- Theoretical - You could argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.
You will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time.
Determine how the articles compare and contrast. Use compare/contrast language.
(University of Guelph)
Keep track of your searches
Guides to literature reviews from other universities
- The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It - University of Toronto
- Conducting a Literature Review - Georgetown University Medical Centre
- Literature Review - Deakin University Library
- Learn to Write a Review of Literature - University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Guidelines for Writing a Literature Review - University of Minnesota, Duluth
Literature review writing guides
Find missing citations, track references and find related articles
Many of the library's databases allow you to track the flow of research by including ways to identify references that cite or are cited by other scholarly sources. This Help Guide will introduce you to the databases that have that feature.
Why is this important?
- keeping track of how many times and where a publication is being cited can help you gauge the impact that article has in your discipline
- if the article has been cited, you may find a link to the citing article/author
- to locate current research based on earlier research
- to find out how a particular research topic is being used to support other research
- to track the history of a research idea
- to track the research history of a researcher
- to determine how well your own published research is cited for promotion/tenure considerations
- don't forget to keep track of your searches! Literature Reviews: Keep Track (UBC)
Consult the Citation Management Help Guide for more information. There are many free citation management systems available. The library provides support for the following:
Plan to attend a workshop that demonstrates the common features of several citation management tools. Send an email to email@example.com to register for a workshop, or arrange for one-on-one consultation.
- Use online tools to manage your sources (e.g., save citations, pdfs and create bibliographies).
- Start a Perma.cc account to create permanent links for online sources.
Sage Research Methods is designed to support researchers with writing a research question, choosing a method, gathering and analyzing data, to and writing up & publishing the findings.
- Browse by discipline, look for 'Social Work' to find a number of handbooks and case studies.
- Check out the Project Planner to help you throughout your research project.
- Create reading lists.
Nvivo is qualitative data analysis software intended to help researchers organize and analyze data, identify trends, and cross examine information in a variety of ways. Consult the NVIVO service web page for more information about this tool and training workshops.
SPSS and Stata
The library offers a statistical consulting service to help students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty and other researchers in the Carleton University community with their questions regarding quantitative data.
Contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian.
Graduate Student Open Access Award
$1000 award encourages Carleton graduate students to make their work more widely available on the internet by publishing research in open access journals.
ORCID is a digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, and automated links between you and your professional activities.
Citation-based metrics used for ranking journals. This may be important for:
- preparing your portfolio
- assesing the impact and quality of a journal relative to a particular discipline or field
- tenure and promotion in academic circles
Consult the Journal Rankings Help Guide for more information