Sources of information and evidence

Now that you have focused your search, it’s time to think about sources of information you might use. There are many sources of evidence and information out there, especially online! These can be books, journals, newspapers, websites, reports, professional networks and support organisations. The key questions you answered above should make it easier for you to select appropriate and trusted sources. A good place to start is just with an online search.

Most of us do internet searches everyday, and a quick search on the internet can help you get a feel for the topic. Using Google to find blogs, news articles and Wikipedia entries about your question can be a useful entry point to other more specific information. When you’ve done that, there are some key sources of evidence to get you started:

  • Google Scholar can often be the quickest and easiest way to access evidence. The search covers a vast range of sources and is useful for identifying work from different countries. Results can include PDF links and helpful filter and citation tools.
  • Social Care Online, from SCIE (Social Care Institute For Excellence), is the UK’s largest database of information and research on all aspects of social care and social work. It covers everything from journals and grey literature to government and third sector reports and policy documents. It's easy to use and free to search. You'll need to register to access the links to full text, but you might still come across paywalls.
  • SSKS (Social Services Knowledge Scotland) is an ideal source of more formal, peer-reviewed evidence. It is a digital library designed to support practice and learning for social care workers. You need to sign up for a free OpenAthens account through NHS Scotland in order to find and access books, journals and articles (some of which are behind paywalls). To help users get started with SSKS, they have produced a series of six short instructional videos which can be viewed below.

Finding evidence with the SSKS digital library

Register for an NHS Scotland OpenAthens account

Sign in to SSKS library search

Searching for eJournals

Using keywords to search for articles

Using SSKS library search filters

Broadening and narrowing results