My Favorite Benefit: NASW Research Library
During their schooling, social work students enjoy free access to comprehensive research libraries from their institutions where they can use evidence-based research to include in their papers and understand data-driven interventions and support. After graduation, they may lose that free access. That’s why NASW provides members with access to the Research Library, where they can find the resources they need to support their social work practice.
Through a partnership with EBSCO, members have unlimited access to more than 25 social science databases with thousands of documents from leading research journals, think tanks, and advocacy groups. These databases include ERIC, SocINDEX and PubMed as well as relevant resources from government agencies such as NIH, HHS and DOJ.
Jessica Riley, BSW, Community Engagement Coordinator at NASW Texas is a recent graduate and transitional member who says access to the Research Library is a great post-graduation resource.
“After graduating, you go into the world and now have access to less resources? It doesn’t make sense,” she said. “It is wonderful that NASW has created a way for growing professionals to have continuing access to critical scholarship in the field.”
The databases offer different categories: EBSCO Discovery Service, Social Work Reference Center, Publication Finder and EBSCOhost Research Database. The categories can be used by members for different purposes.
EBSCO Discovery Service
The EBSCO Discovery Service is an easy-to-use keyword search of thousands of peer-reviewed articles from journals serving the field.
“I think this is valuable for social workers who are doing broad research for a project at work,” said Riley. “You can find data and documents in a very streamlined manner with much more peer-reviewed content than a Google search would give you.”
Social Work Reference Center
The Social Work Reference Center includes a wide array of trending topics in social work practice. It provides several tools applicable for practice by topic: clinical assessment tool, evidence-based care sheets, guidelines, patient education, quick lessons and skills competency assessments.
“This section of the Resource Library is incredibly useful if you don’t have a specific project, but want to remain up-to-date on hot topics or engage with trending topics in your field,” explained Riley. “The tools are designed to use in practice rather than cite in a paper.”
The Publication Finder is a keyword search of publication titles. It provides members a chance to read from specific publications they like or explore what titles are available in their field.
“The Publication Finder is a good way to learn what journals exist for your field,” said Riley. “As you look at titles, maybe you’ll come across some that you weren’t aware of before.”
EBSCOhost Research Database
In the EBSCOhost Research Database, there are searches of three specific databases: the SocINDEX with Full Text, Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection and MEDLINE databases.
“If you have specific needs in the areas these databases cover, you can do direct searches within them making your research time more efficient,” explained Riley.
Overall, members love the Research Library member benefit because it puts resources that strengthen their work right at their fingertips. There is something for every social work practice area, even those that have fewer practitioners.
Want to learn more about the NASW Research Library? Click Research Materials under Practice on the NASW website to log in and start exploring! You can also check out this handy infographic which outlines how to navigate the Research Library and which databases to use for specific purposes.