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Literature Reviews in Social Work

BU Libraries Search

Use BU Libraries Search to find books, articles, and other resources in the collections of the BU libraries.To make your search as specific as possible, use Advanced Search and limit by subject, author, type of material, date, etc. The BU Libraries Search generally does not offer the same capabilities for limitation that are offered in many of the databases and it is often not as comprehensive as the databases.

BU Libraries Search: Quick Start

BU Databases

Use the relevant BU subscription databases to search for scholarly material related to your topic.  BU databases useful for scholarly research in social work are:

Search Tips

When searching the databases be as specific as possible in terms of search terms and if you don’t have good results with one term or combination of terms, think of synonyms that could also be used. A thesaurus is available in some databases, including PsycINFO.  Use the dropdown menus in the search boxes to limit to subject(s) if you are getting too many irrelevant items with the default search. The EBSCO databases, including PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, PsycBOOKS, and Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection can be searched at the same time by clicking Choose Databases next to the title of a database and then choosing the additional databases you wish to search. Use the various limiters in the databases to limit to peer-reviewed articles, limit by date, and in databases such as PsycINFO, to limit by methodology,  including empirical studies, literature reviews, case studies, etc

Saving Search Results in EBSCO Databases

EBSCOhost logoMany of the databases provided by the BU Libraries use the EBSCO interface. This video shows how to save search results in EBSCO databases to a folder and to then print, email, save, or export those results.

Using the Find @ BU Button

Find @ BU
In many of our databases you will sometimes see a Find @ BU button that appears with some article search results. That means the full article is not available in the database, but we may have access to it anyway. This video shows you how that works.

Getting Books & Articles not at BU

  • Interlibrary Loan. Interlibrary Loan services allow current BU faculty, staff, and students to request books, articles, book chapters, and other materials that our ILL staff will obtain from other libraries. Books generally take 1-3 weeks to arrive; articles are generally delivered electronically within 1-2 days.

  • BLC Cards. A Boston Library Consortium Card allows the bearer to borrow—in person—circulating material from a member library, just as you would from a BU library. Boston University faculty, staff, and students on the Charles River Campus may obtain a Consortium Card by filling out an application form. Medical Campus affiliates apply at the Alumni Medical Library. Students, faculty, and staff may borrow books from Boston College, Brandeis University, and Northeastern University with their Boston University ID's.


Worldcat  connects you to the collections of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide and can be used to search for material not  available at Boston University. If you want to obtain material from other libraries, you can request it through interlibrary loan.