This guide provides an introduction to VU Library resources for Bachelor of Social Work students.
Contact us if you need assistance from a librarian or student mentors.
This page provides information on getting started on your research and keyword searching strategies.
Additional information and other tips are featured in the following library guides: Finding Resources and Reading a Scholarly Article.
Watch this video to learn how to identify keywords when searching for information on a topic
Successful keyword searching requires applying search techniques such as using operators to join search terms, specific phrases or relevant word variations. Use the tabs at the top of the panel to explore them.
The three most commonly used operators are AND, OR and NOT. They can broaden or narrow your set of results and exclude unwanted search terms and concepts.
AND will narrow your search returning results that contain all of your search terms
poverty AND homelessness
OR will broaden your search returning results that contain any but not all of your search terms. It is useful for finding synonyms or where different words are of equal value in your search
poverty OR low income OR poor
NOT will narrow your search by eliminating words from your search results. It should be used with care as it can easily exclude relevant results.
homelessness NOT mental health
To search for two or more words in exact order, place double quotation marks " " around the words. The database will only return articles containing that specific phrase rather than articles containing each word found individually anywhere in the text.
The phrase "low-income groups" will retrieve articles with all words as you typed them in with no other words in between.
Truncation is also known as stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include alternative word endings and spellings.
To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol * at the end.
The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.
child* = child, child's, children, children's, childhood
It is important not to shorten the root too much as it may retrieve too many irrelevant results. For example chil* will bring up childless, chiller, chilly, and Chile.
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