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Social Work Resources: Getting Started

Locate information about social work.

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Definition of Social Work

The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.

Definition from International Federation of Social Workers

Primary Documentation

What is a primary document? 

  • A useful introduction to primary documentation is available from RUSA, the Reference & User Services Association of the American Libraries Association. 
  • The Primary Source organization provides a thoughtful explanation of the concept of primary sources and documents.
  • Find a tutorial on primary sources here at California: Irvine.
  • Examples of primary documents/sources include: original documents (like the actual United States Constitution), research articles, diaries, interviews, personal accounts of events, eye-witness experiences and live-action news.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources: YouTube Video

Secondary Documentation

As you begin your research you will use secondary resources to find out more about the topic. 

Encyclopedia, dictionaries, mannuals and textbooks are secondary sources in the form of books. 

Review articles and articles written about other's research or experiences are secondary sources. 

Usually these secondary sources help you narrow your topic and provide context for further research.

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