Hello Professional Seminar Students and congratulation on achieving this milestone -
you are almost a professional social worker!
This guide outlines the major information sources importance for social work study and practice. You should consider most, if not all, of these are information sources as you research your Professional Seminar project.
Each box provides a brief definition and links to more information available through the Information Guides for Silberman School of Social Work.
Reference materials are information sources which provide definitive, factual, and concrete information.
Reference articles discuss the foundational knowledge associated with a subject as it has been vetted by the experts in the field. Reference articles may be used to provide background knowledge written for a general audience; to provide a definition of a concept or theory; to get a quick overview of what is widely accepted as authoritative on the topic.
Research articles report on new, original research. They are published in academic journals. Many, but not all, academic journals use a "peer review" process, also sometimes called "refereed". This is an anonymous process in which experts in the discipline evaluate articles submitted for publication to ensure that the submission employs sound methodology and contains high quality content.
Typically a research article consists of : an abstract; a review of the literature; a statement of hypothesis, query or problem; a description of methodology; an analysis of data; and discussion. The discussion may contain interpretive elements concerning the data.
"A systematic review is an academic research paper that uses a method called ‘evidence synthesis’, which can include meta-analysis, to look for answers to a pre-defined question. The purpose of a systematic review is to sum up the best available research on that specific question." - The Campbell Collaboration
'Open Source' refers to systems and software products that are freely available online to all users and for which the source code is freely available for use, modification, and re-distribution.
'Publicly Available' describes webpages and information items that are freely available to anyone with internet access.
'Open Access' is a term used to describe scholarly work that has been made freely available to all online.
"That which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers." - The Fourth International Conference on Grey Literature, October 1999
Grey literature is an umbrella term which covers many types of information sources and products. Grey literature is produced by organizations whose primary function is NOT publishing. Grey literature includes reports from governmental agencies, professional organizations, advocacy organizations, and think tanks.
"Think tanks are organizations that have significant autonomy from governmental interests and that synthesize, create, or disseminate information, ideas, or advice to the public, policymakers, other organizations, and the press."
Anderson, G. L. & Herr, K.G. (Eds) (2007). Think Tanks. In Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. (Vol. 3, pp. 1369-1372). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Reference.