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SWK 2500 - Survey of Contemporary Social Work

Scholarly Research

Understanding Peer Review

The cornerstone of scholarly research is the peer review process. Articles are reviewed by experts prior to publication. These experts (peers) consider the validity of the author(s) methods, findings and conclusions.

How to Identify a Scholarly Article
  • Abstract
    • Summarizes the articles content.
  • Methods
    • Can also appear as Methodology, Research Methods, etc. This section describes the methods used by the authors to collect data.
  • Findings
    • Can also appear as Data Analysis, Analysis, Results, etc. This section analyzes the collected data.
  • Conclusion
    • A summary of the findings. 
  • Reference List

Find a Scholarly Article

Search by Topic

Use keywords to search Library Databases. For example, Homelessness AND Addiction.

Browse Social Work Journals

Read through Social Work Journals. On the Library's Homepage, click Journals. Search for Social Work and browse library holdings. Journals that are Peer Reviewed will have the icon of a graduation cap. Here are a few recommendations:

Tips for Success

Make sure that you select a social work journal. In other words, a journal that focuses on the discipline of social work. 

Not sure where to start? Browse one of the social work journals mentioned above.


Good analysis includes a summary of the article, your critical evaluation of the article, your opinion of the article and your perceived contribution this article makes to the body of knowledge that makes up the discipline of social work.

Some questions to consider:

  • What is this article trying to do? 
  • Are the arguments presented in the article logical?
  • Do the findings support the conclusions drawn by the author(s)?
  • Did the article ask the right question in the first place? 
  • Did the problem match the methods? For example, to understand student behavior, were students observed or interviewed, or did all the data come from teachers?