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Social Work: Social Work Home

Resources and information for those students who are learning to help the vulnerable, poor, oppressed, and disciminated against

Outline of Research Guide

The Social Work Research Guide is designed to help you navigate sources in a variety of relevant disciplines.

You may want to reference this guide if you are enrolled in any of the following classes:

Social Work

  • SWK 203 Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work
  • SWK 260 Family and Child Issues and Services
  • SWK 311 Substance Abuse
  • SWK 322 Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • SWK 350 Introduction to Social Work Practice
  • SWK 355 Research in Social Welfare
  • SWK 373 Social Policy
  • SWK 380 Mental Health Issues and Services
  • SWK 400 Skills for Social Work Practice
  • SWK 410 Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
  • SWK 420 Social Work Practice with Small Groups, Communities, and Organizations
  • SWK 455 Social Work Practicum


  • SOC 373 Public Policy

You may also find useful information in some of our other Research Guides, including:

You can always get in touch with the creators of this guide Kathy Lowe if you have questions.

      Welcome to the Social Work Research Guide

      August 22, 2011

      In 2011, Picador published a new edition of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed:  On (Not) Getting By in America.  The release marks the ten-year anniversary of a book that changed many people's perspective on the lives of the poor in the United States.  It has sold over one millon copies, and it recounts the experience of Ehrenreich, a magazine editor who went "undercover" to work as a server, housekeeper, and other minimum wage-earning jobs.  Ehrenreich famously discovered that even with the advantages of being white and a legal citizen in 1998-2000, a "booming" economy by our current standards, she still had difficulty finding work and earning a living wage.  And health care was certainly out of the question.  Perhaps the lasting effect of Nickel and Dimed is that many people realized the defintion of "poverty" needs to be re-evaluated.

      In a new forward to the tenth anniversary edition, Ehrenreich reminds us that things have only gotten worse for America's working poor.  During the last several years, she says, blue collar jobs have shrunk at a rate three times faster than white collar jobs.  Wages have not increased apace with inflation and rising health care costs.  Over one third of Americans report that they are unable to afford medicine that has been prescribed to them, and millions of others cope with under or unemployment by living in substandard or overcrowded conditions.  

      The labor structure and the problems associated with it are the result of an intertwined web of relationships that social workers seek to unwind on a daily basis.  When a new tax code is passed, social workers ask who is affected, and they ask how are they effected? They wonder where people turn for help when they need food, medicine, or assistance with living expenses, or what agencies are available to help those experiencing homelessness, depression, emotional or physical abuse, or systemic poverty?

      This guide is intended to help you navigate the resources and information necessary to practice social work professionally.  You will not only find ways to keep current on scholarship that speaks to these problems, but you'll also find avenues and channels to get plugged in to relevant discussions about life in the United States and beyond.

      Google Search Strategies

      Melanie Sage from the University of North Dakota Social Work program provides some tips and information for doing better Google searches as a social worker.

      Information for Practice (NYU)

      Much of the information contained within this guide is based on the resources in Information for Practice, a phenemonal website maintined by Gary Holden at New York University.  In addition to bookmarking this guide, you'll want to frequent Information for practice, where you can subscribe to updating feeds of news, scholarship, and multimedia in social work disciplines.

      I also recommend highly the Social Work Podcast Daily, an aggregated newssource for social workers.

      Information Literacy Poll

      When you are studying social work as a discipline and profession, where do you first look to find information?

      Information Literacy Poll
      Books: 5 votes (27.78%)
      Online (blogs, magazines, newspapers): 2 votes (11.11%)
      Social networks (Twitter, Facebook): 1 votes (5.56%)
      Academic journals: 7 votes (38.89%)
      Friends: 1 votes (5.56%)
      Other: 2 votes (11.11%)
      Total Votes: 18