Skip to Main Content

SOWK 200: Background Information

Reference Sources

What is a reference source? 

  • A reference source is a resource that is used to uncover a specific fact or piece of information.  Reference tools are generally not intended to be read sequentially or cover-to-cover.
  • Reference sources contain specific facts, definitions, overviews, background information and citations to other relevant resources.
  • Reference sources are helpful in narrowing a topic.
  • Reference sources provide definitions of concepts.
  • Reference sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, biographies, bibliographies, handbooks, atlases, maps, and thesauri.
  • Reference sources are a great place to start research!
  • Encyclopedia of Social Work
    Ready Reference  HV35.S6 2008
  • Social Policy and Social Work
    Ready Reference HV41.D445 1998 
  • Social Work Almanac
    Ready Reference HV90.G53 1995
  • The Social Work Dictionary
    Ready Reference HV12.B37 2003 
  • Social Work Speaks:  NASW Policy Statements
    Ready Reference HV88.N118 2003
  • Social Workers Desk Reference
    Ready Reference HV40.S6464 2002

Sample Topic Ideas

These are broad topic areas to get you started. You would want to scan articles, book chapters, talk to your professors to get more focused topics. Or you may be interested in a specific area already. You want to combine topic areas to form a research question.

  • Addiction
  • Alcoholics rehabilitation
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) -
  • Aging
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Bullying
  • Child abuse or neglect or maltreatment
  • Child welfare
  • Conversion therapy
  • Depression
  • Developmental disabilities (various topics)
  • Early intervention programs
  • Elder abuse
  • Family therapy/intervention
  • Family caregiving
  • Foster care
  • Gender pay gap
  • Grief counseling
  • Group therapy vs individual therapy
  • Homelessness
  • Human trafficking
  • Informal economy
  • Interracial adoption
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Juvenile justice system; juvenile incarceration; juvenile delinquency
  • Mental illness; mental disorder; mental health (narrow it down to something specific, for ex. bipolar, anxiety, etc.)
  • Nutrition assistance programs
  • PTSD (with different demographics for ex. veterans, adolescents)
  • People with disabilities
  • Racism
  • Resilience
  • Restorative community programs
  • Sexual assault; Sexual harassment
  • Social justice
  • Social welfare
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicide
  • Veterans