Social Work

If you are studying social work then this guide is for you. It will help you to find and use key resources for your subject.

Finding books

To find books and ebooks use Discover. Watch a short video to help improve your search.

Where are my books in the Library?

Most books for social work are on level 3. For help ask a member of staff on the floor or watch Find a book in the library.

Many of our books are online, watch Find and use ebooks to learn more.

Finding journals

Use Discover to search for journal articles by title or to search for a journal by subject.

Key journals

Your lecturer may recommend specific titles, but you can also use our Journal browse feature to see what journals we have for your subject area. If you need help watch a short video, Find a journal by title or Browse journals by subject.

For help getting access to the full text of a journal article watch Finding and accessing full text.

To request journals that we don’t have in stock use the inter-library loan service.

Finding and using databases

A database enables you to you to carry out a strategic search for journal articles. You can search using a combination of terms, filter and narrow results (by date or subject area for example) and save your searches.

Not all databases will host the full text of the article you need but should provide a link out to full text or further information. For help watch our short video Finding and accessing full text.

There is some overlap between the databases but every database also has unique content. Help guides are available within the Discover record for individual databases.

Key databases:
  • Social Care Online: the UK's largest database of information and research on all aspects of social care and social work. It includes legislation, government documents, practice and guidance, systematic reviews, UK grey (informally-published) literature, reports, and journal articles.
  • ProQuest Social Science Premium Collection: a collection of databases covering international literature in social sciences, public policy, sociology, social work, anthropology, criminology, and education. Includes Applied Social Sciences Index (ASSIA), Sociology database, Social Services Abstracts and Sociological Abstracts. Easy to use and option to search across other relevant ProQuest collections.
  • CINAHL: an authoritative source within the field of nursing and allied health. CINAHL allows you to search using a combination of free text (or keyword) and thesaurus terms (known as CINAHL headings) to produce precise results. Option to limit to peer review material, link out to full text articles and search other EBSCO databases.

A full list of all the databases we subscribe to is available from the Database A-Z.


Websites can offer a range of information that may be difficult to find elsewhere such as clinical guidelines, policy documents, statistics and so on.

Consider using the websites of professional bodies like the British Association of Social Workers. Also, public bodies or government bodies like The Care Inspectorate or Social Services Knowledge Scotland, research centres and collaborations like the Centre for the Social History of Health & Healthcare, and blogs like Social Care from the UK Government.

With such a wide variety available you need to ensure that the sites you are using are trustworthy. We provide guidance on evaluating websites.

Archives and special collections

Glasgow Caledonian University Archive Centre holds a number of collections which might be of interest to social work students.

These include

  • Association of CHILDREN 1st (formerly the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) records
  • Directors of Social Work (ADSW) records
  • Heatherbank Social Work collection

View the full list or browse other collections from the Archive Centre webpages.

Contact GCU Archives and Special Collections directly to find out more.