The term research can encompass many different activities. At its core, it is the act of seeking information to answer a question or solve a problem. People do research for all kinds of reasons, including curiosity, a need to know, or for an assignment.
When starting a research project or information-seeking task, it's important to first identify the problem, issue, or question that you will investigate. What is your topic? What do you hope to learn? What is the question you are trying to answer?
Your question or information need will then guide the kind of resources you search out and where you will look for information. For this project, you will use Western library databases to find peer reviewed scholarly articles and a credible website provided by an organization.
The other pages of this guide address additional aspects of the research process, suggest recommended resources for conducting research for Introduction to Human Services, information about using and citing sources, and tutorials for navigating the writing process.
Why do research in Human Services?
For human service professionals to be effective, possessing information literacy skills is necessary.
Human Service professionals must be able to research issues impacting clients and identify evidence-based practices in order to serve populations better. In addition, human service professionals must conduct research for administrative duties such as grant writing.
What is APA and why do we use it for research writing?
What is APA?
When most people think of APA, they think of citations and research. That is partially accurate. APA does provide a format for including and giving credit for research in our writing. But, it is actually much more than that. APA style is a broad but specific set of guidelines for clear and precise scholarly writing. It is used by millions of people around the word in many fields such as psychology, education, nursing, and social work.
Why do we use it for research and writing?
Using APA style provides uniformity and consistency for writers and readers with regard to:
Formatting…defines how we set up technical aspects of the paper/the “look” of the paper
Organizing…ensures that the order of ideas presented are predictable and consistent
Language…provides guidance and suggestions to ensure the language we use in our writing is respectful, bias-free, and “academic”
Citation of Research…allows us to easily and briefly give credit to our sources within our writing
References…provides a uniform structure to give readers all of the information they need to know exactly where our information came from…and find it themselves if they choose
Almost ALL post-secondary coursework requires the ability to find, use, and cite researchappropriately and it’s important that we know WHEN and HOW to give credit for our research
Western's Human Services program utilizes APA consistently, with expectations that you will become more comfortable and proficient each semester. This Research Project is designed to introduce you to APA without overwhelming you.