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SWK 3140 - Social Work with Groups

Developing Keywords

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
Family Counseling School-Aged Children Bereavement
Support Groups High School Mourning


Advanced Searching

Boolean Operators

Use the Boolean Operators AND, OR and NOT to create search statements to enter in databases, Spartan Search, Google, etc.

Peanut Butter AND Jelly: only results with both peanut butter and jelly; Peanut Butter OR Jelly: results with peanut butter, with jelly, and with both; Peanut Butter NOT Jelly, results with Peanut Butter only


  • College AND Technology AND Learning
  • (College OR Higher Education OR University) AND (Technology OR Computers) AND (Learning OR Instruction)
  • (Technology AND Learning AND Elementary ) NOT College



Wildcards allows you to search for multiple terms with the same root at once by using an asterisk. 


  • Educat* = Educate, Education, Educational, Educator
  • Child* = Child, Children, Childish


Phrase Searching

Search for exact phrases using quotation marks.


  • "higher education": returns results that contain the exact phrase "higher education"

Citation Chasing

Citation Chasing and "Cited By" Searching

Once you find a good article:

  • Go through the Reference List to look for other articles related to your topic 
  • Look for articles that have cited this article for their own research 
  • In Spartan Search, the red arrows next to the article's title will link you to the article's citations (the downward-facing arrow), and articles that have cited this title (the upward-facing arrow)

screenshot of article in Spartan Search with arrows for citations and "cited by" articles next to the title

Spartan Search screenshot




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