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SWK 3140 - Social Work with Groups

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

Search Terms

Developing Keywords

Prior to searching library databases, take a few minutes to consider which search terms or keywords best describe your topic. 

Sample Topic: Group Therapy for kids struggling with the loss of a family member.

Step 1 - Identify the main ideas - Group Therapy for kids struggling with the loss of a family member

Step 2 - Brainstorm Broader, Related and Narrower Terms. Remember that Scholarly articles are published by experts, consider the language that an expert would use.

Group Therapy Kids Loss of a Family Member
Group Counseling Children Grief
Group Psychotherapy Adolescents Trauma
  School-Aged Children Bereavement

Use keywords to search Library Databases. 

Advanced Search Techniques

Search Statements

Use Boolean Operators AND, OR and NOT to create Search Statements. 


  • Group Therapy AND Grief AND Children
  • (Group Therapy OR Group Counseling) AND (Grief OR Trauma) AND (Children OR School-Aged Children)
  • (Group Therapy AND Children) NOT Unsupervised Play Therapy

Broaden or Narrow Search Results

Problem: No Results. Broaden your results. Try using OR instead of AND. Try fewer keywords, use broader keywords.

Problem: Too Many Results. Narrow your results. Use AND or NOT. Use limiters such as Date Range or Subject. Add more keywords. 

Citation Chasing

Once you find a good article, go through the Reference List. Often, authors will cite other articles on your topic. Check to see if the library has these articles by searching for the Journal Title in Journal Search