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INFORMATION COMPETENCIES FOR THE SOCIAL WORK PROFESSIONAL

Elementary Skills

Skills Related to the Use of Electronic Index Sources

Discipline Specific Skills:


ELEMENTARY SKILLS

The social worker can correctly identify these types of citations:

  1. a periodical
  2. a chapter in a book
  3. a book
  4. a government document
  5. proceedings of a conference

The social worker understands how to find books by call number.

The social worker can use the online catalog to locate a book or periodical.

The social worker understands how to obtain a book or periodical through interlibrary loan.

The social worker knows how to recall a book or periodical that is currently checked out to another user.

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SKILLS RELATED TO USE OF ELECTRONIC INDEX SOURCES

The social worker is familiar with and can use Boolean logic:  "AND," "OR," "NOT".

The social worker understands the difference between keyword searching and controlled vocabulary searching.

The social worker is familiar with and can use search strategy techniques such as adjacency, field searching,
truncation, universal characters, etc.

The social worker can use documentation to answer questions about searching electronic index sources.

The social worker knows which visual cues on the monitor screen are important in a particular database.

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DISCIPLINE SPECIFIC SKILLS
GENERAL

The social worker is aware of and knows how to use the major indexes relevant to social work:

Social Work Abstracts
Sociological Abstracts (Sociofile/SOPODA)
Psychological Abstracts (PsycLit)
PAIS
ERIC
GPO Monthly Catalog
Inventory of Marriage and Family Literature/Family Database
Index to Legal Periodicals
Social Science Citation Index
Social Sciences Index
Crime and Delinquency Abstracts
National Criminal Justice Reference Service Document Database
Child Development Abstracts
Child Abuse and Neglect
 Policy File
AGELINE
Women's Studies Abstracts

The social worker is able to formulate an efficient and discipline-appropriate search strategy for social work research.

The social worker is aware of US government document and state government document sources for demographic and social policy research.

The social worker knows how to use Library of Congress subject headings to find social work materials in the online catalog.

The social worker is familiar with the major journals in social work.

The social worker is familiar with the various types of reference sources and major reference sources in social work, i.e.,  The social worker can:

  1. locate an authoritative overview of the research topic;
  2. find definitions of pertinent terms and ideas;
  3. locate reviews of the literature;
  4. find biographical information;
  5. find book reviews;
  6. use citation indexes to update books and articles;
  7. use subject specific bibliographies to locate evaluative
  8. discussions of research and theories

The social worker is aware of and able to use current awareness sources such as Lexis/Nexis, ArticleFirst, and Uncover.

The social worker can distinguish between primary and secondary sources in social work.

The social worker can distinguish between scholarly and popular treatments of a social work subject.

The social worker understands statistics and research design and methodology. The social worker can critically evaluate research.

The social worker is able to efficiently use email.

The social worker is familiar with Internet resources relevant to social work and is able to critically evaluate information found on the Internet.

The social worker is familiar with several Internet search engines, metasearch engines, and directories and is able to efficiently search the Internet for information related to social work.

The social worker is familiar with the various types of media used to communicate and is capable of critically evaluating both the message and medium through which it was conveyed.

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SOCIAL POLICY RESEARCH/LEGAL RESEARCH SKILLS

The social worker understands how federal and the appropriate state laws and administrative policies and regulations are created.

The social worker is aware of the various publications, which list federal and state legislators and lobbyists.

The social worker understands where to go to find current information about bills and policies as they are being debated and crafted.

The social worker understands the role of courts in interpreting and modifying laws and regulations.

The social worker is aware of the federal and state publications, which record legal decisions.

The social worker is aware of publications, which provide legislative histories of federal and state laws.  The social worker is able to use these publications to develop an understanding of the intent of those passing a piece of legislation.

The social worker is aware of the various periodical indexes that cover the literature of social policies and is able to select the most appropriate indexes for the type of social policy, e.g., health care, education, corrections and crime, social welfare, and economic assistance.

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ADVANCED SKILLS

The social worker understands the structure of the literature of social work:  how knowledge is disseminated.

The social worker can make a general assessment of an author's competence.

The social worker can locate pertinent research collections in the field (manuscript collections, research centers, special libraries and archives).

The social worker is aware of remote electronic research sources and is able to use such sources or knows how to obtain help in using such sources.

The social worker understands the purpose and scope of professional associations, their major publication and research tools.

The social worker knows how to identify professional contacts and research opportunities for obtaining jobs, publishing and/or showing work in the field.

The social worker is able to locate appropriate electronic discussion lists and understands how to participate in them.

The social worker is able to locate information on grants and fund raising, and has an elementary knowledge of grant writing.

The social worker is able to use word processing software, spread sheet software, web page development software, and presentation software.

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Page Maintained by: Corryn Crosby-Muilenburg
Page Last Modified:
November 19, 2002
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