Social Work *: Scholarly Sources

Randall Information Center | USC School of Social Work

Peer-Reviewed Articles

What is a Peer-Reviewed Article? 

Peer-reviewed articles are written by experts and researchers who want to share their research with others in the field.

How do you find Peer-Reviewed articles? 

Search online databases and scholarly journals. Read the database description to determine if it includes peer-reviewed articles. Many databases include options to limit your results to peer-reviewed articles. 

Quick Reference

Ulrich's Periodical Directory will tell you if a journal is peer-reviewed (refereed). Type in the journal's name and look in the "Refereed" field.

Finding Scholarly Articles

Finding DOI numbers for articles

Use Crossref, a free site, to look up DOIs using information such as article title, authors, and publisher information.

Crossref guest query - Look up DOIs

Recommended Social Work Research Journals

Browse these research-based journals for your topic:

Dissertation Databases

USC Dissertations

Search USC Digital Library or ProQuest Dissertations & Theses to find USC dissertations.  

If you have trouble locating a dissertation, contact Wayne Shoaf at or ph. 213-740-4090 or John Juricek at or ph. 213-740-2931.

Non-USC Dissertations

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses is also a good source for locating digitized dissertations produced at other universities in the United States.

In addition, more and more universities no longer require students to deposit their dissertations with ProQuest so you may want to search for an university's institutional repository via Google and search within that digital collection for a particular publication.

Journal Impact Factors

What is an impact factor? 

Impact factor is a measure of the frequency that the average article in a journal is cited in a certain year. You can find the impact factors of journals in the Journal Citation Reports database. An example of an impact factor is below:

Screenshot of a section of JCR showing impact factor of Research on Social Work Practice Journal


Social Work Databases

The databases below cover specific subjects. Select the database based on your topic. Look at the database descriptions to help you. For example, PsycINFO, which covers mental and behavioral health, would be good for articles about interventions or depression.  Topics pertaining to education, try ERIC and topics about older adults, try AgeLine.