Social Work for graduate students

During COVID-19 I am available by email as well as for virtual meetings. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need assistance, or have any questions. Margaret

Finding academic literature

  • Library Search Box

The Library Search Box (OMNI) is a good place to start.

  • Databases
    • 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

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.

Academic journals

Open access

Student journals

Journals recommended by faculty members

Faculty in the School of Social Work suggest the  following journals. 

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

Library resources


What is a Literature Review?

​A literature review is both a summary and explanation of the complete and current state of knowledge on a narrowed topic as found in academic books and journal articles.

For an excellent introduction to writing a literature review, watch this video

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

Types of Literature Reviews

Keep Track of your searches

How do I search a database for a literature review that someone has written already?

It depends on which database you're using. 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
  • bibliography
  • meta-analysis, meta analysis 
  • re-analysis of data

Guides to literature reviews from universities

Literature review writing guides


Citation searching

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)

Citation management

Plan to attend a workshop that demonstrates the common features of several citation management tools. Send an email to to register for a workshop, or arrange for one-on-one consultation.


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 Software

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. 

Research ethics at Carleton University

Contact the Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Writing process

Resources for Authors

Open Access

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.


What is an ORCID and do I need one?

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.

Journal rankings

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


Thesis guidelines @ Carleton University

Content last reviewed: April 7, 2021