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WS1006 Self in Professional Helping Guide: 3. Finding Information

This guide will help WS1006 students complete subject assessment tasks

Understand your assignment topic

Is your understanding of some words in your assignment instructions a bit fuzzy? Do you need to do some background reading to help you identify keywords and terms before you start assignment research? Your assignment will be off to a good start if you look for clarification in your subject readings, Wikipedia or other online sites.

The following links may help you understand your WS1006 reflective assignment task:

Credo Reference is a great place to start assignment research, particularly when there are terms you don't understand. You can also try out the concept map tool to help you visualise your topic. Search for terms, topics, images or concepts.

Searching tips and tricks to save you time

Before you begin searching

  • Determine your keywords - this is critical to effective searching.
  • Decide which keywords would combine well to narrow your search.

Search strategies

Combining synonyms/related concepts: OR

  • "Social Work" OR counselor OR "human services"
  • Queensland OR "Northern Territory" OR "Torres Strait"

Combining words: some databases assume each word is joined with an AND; some databases require the AND.

  • One Search and Google assume an AND
  • Informit requires an AND

Phrase searching: to force a phrase search put your phrase in "inverted commas"

  • "social work"
  • "domestic violence"

Finding words with different spelling: Replace letters in word with a wildcard symbol - usually a ?

  • organi?ation will find organization and organisation
  • wom?n will find woman and women

Finding words with multiple endings: Use an * at the end of the word stem

  • ethic* will find ethic, ethics, ethical
  • aborigin* will find aboriginal, aborigine, aboriginality, aborigines, aboriginals

Combining strategies

  • counsel?or AND "ethical practice"
  • (indigenous OR aboriginal OR "torres strait islander") AND australia

Analysing results

  • Too many results: add more keywords
  • Too few results: make your search more simple - remove keywords

Finding information for your assignment

There are some fantastic search tools and databases available for finding information for Social Work assignments.

Evaluate your sources for quality

Not everything you find may be appropriate and academically acceptable to use. It's important to use scholarly sources for your assignments. Before including any sources in your assignment, you will need to evaluate them to decide whether they are relevant for your topic and appropriate for use at university.
Core Evaluation Skills
coreIn this section you will learn the what, why and how of evaluating resources including useful checklists.
Evaluating Journals
journalsHere you will learn about why journal articles are important, the different types of journal articles, how to recognize scholarly journals and the peer review process.
Evaluating Books
booksHere you will learn about what books are useful for and how to identify scholarly books.
Evaluating Webpages
webpagesLastly, you will learn about how webpages can be useful, different kinds of webpages, recognizing fake news and using Wikipedia.

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