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Social Work

Introduction

After you complete your degree and begin your practice, you will frequently find yourself in need of current, evidence-based research to inform your professional work. However, upon leaving OU, you will lose access to the subscription-based resources available through the OU Libraries website. This can pose a challenge for some social workers, as obtaining scholarly sources can be more difficult or expensive than they anticipated.

Fortunately, a number of alternatives are available. This page describes resources and strategies that will help you locate reliable research after you graduate.

Free Online Databases

The following databases resources can be used to search for scholarly information in fields related to social work. Many of the subscription-based databases that you may have used while at OU, such as ERIC, also have free public versions available. These free versions often do not contain the same full-text content found in the paid versions; however, they can be used to locate citations. Public libraries with interlibrary loan services can often fill requests for materials located through these resources.

Open Access

Open access is a movement that seeks to make scholarly resources freely available, without subscription charges to the end user. Some journals are open access in their entirety. Other journals make selected content available as open access or open older content after an embargo period.

For more details, see the OU Libraries Open Access Guide. Open access journal articles can be located using the DOAJ. Google Scholar's results will also sometimes include OA content.

Open Access Tools

As you search for articles online, you'll frequently encounter site that charge users to view articles. Sometimes, those articles are also available in other locations for free. Two browser extensions are available to help you find the open access versions of online articles.

Library Resources and Services

Public Libraries can be an invaluable source of professional and scholarly information after you graduate. Many public libraries offer online and onsite access to databases such as Academic Search Premier, MEDLINE, and Professional Development Collection. In addition, your public library can likely obtain books and articles for you by interlibrary loan. Use free or library-provided databases to find citations for the materials that you need. Also, keep in mind that many public universities will allow access to their databases for onsite use by campus visitors.