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SOCW 3350: Research Methods in Social Work

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Search techniques

Pearl growing uses the characteristics of a highly relevant and authoritative article, referred to as the "pearl," to search for additional related sources.

To use this technique, follow these steps:

1) Find a relevant and authoritative article on your research topic

2) Locate and open the record for that article in the library database

3) Review the subject terms that are used to describe and index the article in the database:


4) Use the subject terms to search for further resources in the database by clicking on them if they are hyperlinked or including them as keywords in a new search statement

5) If necessary, repeat the process as new sources are found

Bibliographic mining involves simply reviewing the reference list at the end of an book, journal article, dissertation or similar work. The researcher then "mines" the reference list for further resources of interest and relevancy.

This is one method that can be used to trace the history and evolution of a topic or area of study. For this reason, it is an excellent technique to use for literature reviews.

Cited Reference Searching involves searching for sources that have cited a particular source in order to find similar and related materials as well as understand how an influential argument or research findings have been framed and discussed.


Research Methods - eBooks