Start by finding out the basics about your topic and it's context within the field of social work and social policy.
Encyclopedias and reference books (e.g. handbooks, dictionaries, etc.) are a starting point to gather knowledge on a topic that is new to you. They can be a used to supplement your textbook readings and will help you understand how your topic fits into a broader context. Importantly, encyclopedia articles identify the major works on a topic and introduce terminology that you can use as search terms as you continue on with your research.
Encyclopedia of Social Work
Call Number: Online
Key disciplinary encyclopedia for social work. It will include entries on some illnesses particularly relevant to Social Work (i.e. PTSD, Depression, etc.)
Medical Background Information
- MedlinePlus is a free, online consumer health resource produced by the National Library of Medicine as part of the NIH.
Other Databases with Background Information
This database hosts a large number of reference works by Sage Publishers, a well-known scholarly publisher in the social sciences.
This is a report series that treats various "hot topics" with comprehensive reports written by journalists. Not all topics have current coverage, but for some topics there are excellent background reports.
Oxford Bibliographies Online for Social Work
Annotated bibliographies of various social work topics that point to the key sources and provides some contextual information.