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Human Services: Intro to Human Services APA Project Guide

Resources, information, and tutorials to support the Intro to Human Services APA project.

Best Bet Databases for Human Services Research (Quick Links)

These are our best recommendations for where to search for information for your project. Browse the rest of this page for additional explanation and tutorials on how to use these resources for research. 

Still not finding what you need? Browse the full list of databases for other options and/or reach out to a librarian.

 

NOTE: You will be prompted to enter your Western ID to log in to library databases.

What are databases? How do they work?

What are databases? Why should I use them?

Business database search

 A database is a collection of online information resources - articles, films, images, data, statistics, etc. Western Library databases provide articles from newspapers, magazines, trade journals, scholarly journals, books, and streaming video on a wide variety of subjects.

Databases are subscriptions purchased by both college and public libraries, and made freely available to students and the general public with a student ID or public library card. 

Western Library has general, multiple-subject databases and subject-specific databases. Subject-specific databases contain detailed information within a specific subject area. For example, business databases contain information about industries, companies, and other business-related topics and cover a wide range of information including  histories and historical context, articles, case studies, reports, rankings, profiles charts, financial data, statistics, legal issues and more.

Library databases can save you time and energy! They contain vetted, fact-checked, and credible information created by trustworthy professionals and experts. They also organize content and include tools for efficient research.

 

toolbox iconHow do databases work? Why are there so many buttons and filters!? 

Although they may look a little different, all databases have the following features:

  • Search boxes (basic and advanced)
  • Tools including citation tools, a way to email, send, share, print tool, or save the link (permalink)
  •  Filters to help narrow your results
    • Full Text to select to show only titles that also have complete articles, rather than just a summary.
    • Date or date range filters to these may refer to publication or copyright dates. 
    • Source Type lists to choose the what type of article you want to see (newspaper, magazine, academic journal, etc.) or filter out the source types you don't want to see. Use this to limit to scholarly/peer reviewed articles for this project.

Which databases are best for this project?

Watch video

There are several databases that work great for Human Services research. We recommend Psychology (Gale OneFile), Academic Search Premier (EBSCO), and Academic OneFile (Gale OneFile)You can access these directly using the links above and below.

Searching EBSCO Databases (like Academic Search Premier)

Although these databases look totally different, they have common features. Visit our EBSCOhost guide and watch the short videos to learn how easy it is to use EBSCO databases.

EBSCO screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Searching Gale Databases (Academic OneFile, Psychology)

An interesting feature, unique to (Gale OneFile), is it's visual Topic Finder.  Perform a basic search in Topic Finder to see a wide variety of subtopics. Click on one of the subtopics to bring up a list of related articles. For example, the basic search term "domestic violence," produces the subtopics you see in the diagrams below. When you click on an individual tile or a section of the wheel, a list of related articles appears on the right side of the page. Both the tile view and wheel view bring up the same information, so choose your favorite view.

Visit our Gale Guide and watch the short videos to how easy it is to use Gale Databases.

                  Gale Topic Finder Tiles        Gale Topic Finder Wheel

 

Human Services Research - Topics and Search Strategies

Choose a topicChoosing a Topic

The first step in any research process is choosing a topic. In the Human Services profession these may include a variety of topics that impact your clients, such as

  • Domestic violence
  • Alcoholism
  • Parental anxiety
  • Parental depression
  • Homelessness
  • Divorce  

Make a listBasic Searching Strategies

Begin your research by creating a list of search terms - single words or short phrases - based on your choice of topic. Databases respond best to nouns that identify something specific. Terms like those below a make good starting point for a basic search.

  • Domestic violence
  • Homelessness
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Addiction

When you search, enclose multiple-word terms in parenthesis (domestic violence) so the database searches for articles about "domestic violence" rather than searching the two words "domestic" and "violence"  separately, which will bring back a lot of irrelevant results.

Because different authors use different terms that mean the same thing, you want to create a small list of alternate search terms so you don't miss a good article just because it uses different words than you did. For example:

  • Domestic violence --- domestic abuse, family violence
  • Parental depression --- mother depression, father depression, parental mental illness, etc.
  • Children --- kids, toddlers, siblings, boys, girls (age and gender are important factors to consider)

Use Thesaurus.com or look at Subjects features in the databases to expand your word lists.

 

Advanced Searching Strategies

Advanced search strategies are useful if you get too many results from a basic search. To reduce or specify the results, try combinations of several words and linking them with AND, OR, NOT. This is known as Boolean searching.

  • Domestic (violence OR abuse) AND families
  • Depression AND (mothers OR fathers) AND children
  • Homelessness AND (children OR kids NOT goats) AND divorce

Remember, databases respond best to nouns that identify something specific. Words like impact or effect don't identify any one specific thing, and tend to muddy the results you get. It is in reading the articles you come to understand the impact or effect of a specific situation on individual clients, families, or family members

Best Bet Databases for Human Services Research (Quick Links)

These are our best recommendations for where to search for information for your project. Browse the rest of this page for additional explanation and tutorials on how to use these resources for research. 

Still not finding what you need? Browse the full list of databases for other options and/or reach out to a librarian.

 

NOTE: You will be prompted to enter your Western ID to log in to library databases.


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