Introduction to Social Care

R19–0588 SOWK60661


  • Group: 60
  • Length: Online N/A
  • Room: Online N/A
  • Discipline: Aimed at health sciences
  • Level: PGT

Learning outcomes

After engaging with this support, you will be able to:

  • Present a balanced and well-structured argument
  • Use information sources appropriately to support your own arguments
  • Use correct academic practices in quoting, citing and paraphrasing
  • Develop strategies for assessing the appropriateness of sources to use in your assignments
  • Distinguish between types of reading for different purposes
  • Assess how a particular source fits within the wider context of literature and existing knowledge
  • Critically analyse arguments within sources to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Adapt your writing style to suit your purpose and audience
  • Synthesise information from different sources to draw conclusions
  • Use an appropriate academic voice and style in your assignments
  • Identify and use key databases in your discipline
  • Identify and use relevant specialist information common in your discipline
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different search tools
  • Identify an appropriate tool to use for finding information for your specific purpose
  • Identify relevant sources from a list of search results
  • Use correct style and format for different types of written assignment (eg reports, scientific writing)

Suggested online resources

Session content

(Below content same as OPTO20200 apart from subject change in Intro and example question change):


Hello Social work students! This content has been put together for you by the Library to support you in developing key research skills.

After engaging with this support, you will be able to:

  • Locate core library resources
  • Understand where to find different types of information
  • Understand the importance of evaluating information
  • Know where to find additional help

What, where and how?

When you are searching for resources to support your academic work and assignments, it is important to consider the following three questions:

  • What am I searching for? (this may involve mapping out your keywords)
  • Where will I search for it?
  • How am I going to search?

Spending some extra time thinking about the answers to these questions before you start searching will make your search more efficient, helping you get to the most relevant information as quickly as possible.

What am I searching for/hoping to find?

In order to perform an effective search you need to know exactly what you are looking for. Often this will require you to examine your research question or topic area in more detail using the steps below.

  1. Highlight the key concepts in your research question
  2. Map out synonyms — are there any related concepts or other ways to express the same idea which need considering?
  3. Consider if there are alternative spellings or word endings for any of the key words you have come up with.


Analyse the example question (below) and map out relevant search terms:

Discuss the support available for adults with learning disabilities and alcohol abuse.


The traffic light system:

Now prioritize the list of terms you have come up with using some coloured pens.

  1. Highlight key terms which are integral to your research in Green
  2. Highlight terms which are not essential but you would consider in Orange — these terms are negotiable and are more flexible. These might include terms
  3. Highlight terms which are not required for your research and could detract from the focus of your research in Red. If these terms begin to appear in your search results you may choose to EXCLUDE these.

Where will I search for it?

Embed modular finding information content already in Blackboard:

1.8 Using multiple sources

2.2 Why Should I use Library Search?

2.4 Signing in to your Library account

2.5 Saving your searches in Library search

2.8 Searching activity in Library Search

2.9 My favourites: saving a record from Library search

3.0 Google Scholar

4.0 Google Advanced Search

Embed 1–1.7 Subject databases with Social Work subject guide in 1.2

Tailored embed — slightly adapted version of same activity in Anna’s JAPAN10030 embed

How to search?

[embed text] Library Search and most subject databases offer an ‘advanced search’ function allowing us to combine our search terms.

They use something called ‘Boolean operators’: the ‘OR’ and ‘AND’ that you can see on the search interface.

We use ‘OR’ to combine terms that are of a related concept. Using our example we might search for ‘alcohol abuse OR alcoholism OR binge drinking’. This returns results which feature any of those terms.

We use ‘AND’ to combine different concepts together. Using our example we might search for ‘learning disabilities AND adults’. This returns results which feature both of those terms.

Activity: Try searching one of the search tools introduced earlier on and practice using AND/OR. How do your search results differ?

You can find out more about using these functions on our guide to advanced searching:

[EMBED online resource: ‘Advanced search: making use of Boolean operators’]

Evaluating your sources

3.1 Finding Information Evaluating your sources podcast

Being critical

2.4 Planning your academic writing

2.2 Integrating the work of others into your writing

EMBED Tailored reflective writing content:

Reflective writing:

1.5 Royal literary fellow

Where to find additional help

Embed standard help links:

Help and Support

SLS links

Feedback survey



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