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Michigan State University

Social Work Policy: Social Work Journal Article Databases

In-depth guide to policy information sources

Scholarly Journal Articles

Scholarly Journal Articles

Scholarly journal articles may include research on the social problem(s) your policy addresses or may be particular to a policy.  Usually scholarly journal articles will be on very specific aspects of a larger issue.

Use a library database (aka index) to find journal articles on your research topic. 

Because policy issues are multidisciplinary and far reaching you may want to try numerous databases, but here are a few particularly relevant to your search:

Top Pick! Social Work Databases

Another Best Bet: A Good Multidisciplinary Database

More Multidisciplinary Database Options

Other Subject-Specific Databases

Policy is NOT specific to social work.  Policy issues cut across all aspects of our life.  I implore you to think outside of the social work box!  Search the literature of other related disciplines as well.  For example: if you are researching housing issues related to mortgage foreclosures, you will also want to search in an urban planning index such as Urban Studies Abstracts and a business index like Business Source Complete.

Here is a selected list of other indexes that may be relevant to policy topics.  For a comprehensive list, see the Electronic Resources - Databases page.

General Social Sciences

Business and Labor

Criminal Justice


Family Studies & Human Ecology

Gender Studies



Medicine & Nursing

Political Science

Public Policy


Urban Studies

Getting the Full Text of Articles


Look for the FindText@MSU link in the index to connect to full text.  Complete information at the FAQs guide, see below for a summary.

Scenario #1: Full-Text is Available in the Index

When searching an index for articles, take a look at your results screen or a more detailed record of the item you want to retrieve. Is there a link to the full text of the article somewhere in the results screen or a detailed records screen? The link may say Jump to Full Text, View Full Text, Text with Graphics, or Page Image – PDF. If one of those links appears, click on it and you will retrieve the full text of the article.

Scenario #2:  Find Text @ MSU Links to Full-Text

Look for a Find Text @ MSU link within the record of the article.  Click on the link and it will open a new window that takes you directly to the publisher or distributor's website for the journal article.  Look for the PDF link to view a copy of the article as it appeared in the print version of the journal.

Scenario #3: Find Text @ MSU does not Link to Full-Text

When the Find Text @ MSU system is not able to find an electronic copy of the article, it opens a page that tells you "Initial Results Indicate Online Full Text May Not Be Available." 

On-campus students will need to check the catalog for a print copy of the journal.  If the print copy is available, undergraduates must come to the library and use the print copy while graduate students may choose to use the MARS article retrieval service.  If the print copy is not available, all students should request the article through Inter-Library Loan.

Off-campus student can go directly to the link that reads "Distance Program Students and Researchers Only: Article Copy".  This link takes you to the ILLiad system, where you can place your request.

Important Disclaimer:  The Find Text @ MSU link resolver application has an estimated 10-20% error rate.  There is a small likelihood that you may be taken directly to an error page or that you will be erroneously told that we do not have online full-text when we actually do.  You can double-check the work of the computer application by looking up the title of the journal in the library catalog.

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