Systematically Identifying Relevant Research : Case Study on Child Protection Social workers' Resilience

Paula McFadden, Brian Taylor, Anne Campbell, J. McQuilkin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)


    Context: The development of a consolidated knowledge base for social work requires rigorous approaches to identifying relevant research. Method: The quality of 10 databases and a web search engine were appraised by systematically searching for research articles on resilience and burnout in child protection social workers. Results: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) had greatest sensitivity, each retrieving more than double than any other database. PsycINFO and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) had highest precision. Google Scholar had modest sensitivity and good precision in relation to the first 100 items. SSCI, Google Scholar, Medline, and CINAHL retrieved the highest number of hits not retrieved by any other database. Conclusion: A range of databases is required for even modestly comprehensive searching. Advanced database searching methods are being developed but the profession requires greater standardization of terminology to assist in information retrieval.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)626-636
    Number of pages11
    JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


    • systemmatic review
    • database searching

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Psychology(all)

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