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Social Work

A subject guide to help with beginning research in the field of Social Work

Library Research Guide

Establishing Your Phenomenon

So you need a topic/phenomenon for your research paper? Here are some tips to help you identify a social work research topic:
  • Choose an area or subject you're already interested in
  • Use your textbook or class notes to find important topics
  • Search online for current events or recent news related to social work
  • Talk with your instructor about topic ideas you are considering

Developing Your Topic/Phenomenon Into a Research Question

There are several ways you can take your topic/phenomenon and develop that into a research question. A very simple method is to use the acronym TAPP:

  • Time - Is there a time period that interests you?
  • Aspect - Is there a particular aspect of the topic that interests you?
  • Place - Is there a specific geographic region or area that interests you?
  • Population - Is there a specific population that interests you?

Finding Keywords for your Topic

Good research begins with good keywords. Click on the image below to watch a brief video from the University Library at UNC Greensboro explains how to turn your research question into useful keywords. Transcript.

If you would like more practice with keywords and research, check out the rest of their tutorial!

PATH: Lighting Your Way From Research to Writing (UNCG Libraries) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0


Screenshot of the video from UNCG PATH tutorial showing how to create keywords from a research question. The image links to the video.