Pathfinder: Health

The following Pathfinder identifies resources relating to the Health Concentration and intended to help social workers locate information to enhance their own knowledge and understanding of health issues that affect their clients, including coping with acute or chronic illness, community health, preventive medicine, policy, and health service delivery.

Consult the Steps to Research and Writing a Paper for more detailed information.

1. Start by locating resources that provide an overview of your topic.

This will help you define terms in that discipline and provide background information in your subject area. Encyclopedias, handbooks, subject specific dictionaries offer good places to start.

Some titles specifically related to health are:

American Hospital Association. (1997/1998-2003/2004). AHA guide to the health care field. (Vols. 1-7). Chicago, IL: Healthcare Infosource, Inc.

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR.(4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: Author.

Anderson, K. N. (Ed.). (1998).Mosby’s medical, nursing, & allied health dictionary. (5th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.

Aronstein, D. M., & Thompson, B. J. (Eds.). (1998).HIV and social work: A practitioner’s guide. Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press.

Campbell, R. J. (2009). Campbell’s psychiatric dictionary. (9th ed.). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Craft-Rosenberg, M., & Pehler, S.-R. (Eds.). (2011). Encyclopedia of family health. (Vols. 1-2). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Fink, G. (Ed.). (2000). Encyclopedia of stress. (Vols. 1-3). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

First, M. B., & Tasman, A. (Eds.). (2004). DSM-IV-TR mental disorders: Diagnosis, etiology, and treatment. Chichester, West Sussex, England; Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley.

Galea, S., & Vlahov, D. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of urban health: Populations, methods, and practice. New York: Springer. [Also available online at OhioLINK EBC]

Laws, T. (2006). A handbook of men’s health. Edinburgh; New York: Churchill Livingstone.

Loue, S., & Sajatovic, M. (Eds.). (2004). Encyclopedia of women’s health. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

Martin, E. A. (Ed.). (2007). Concise medical dictionary(7th ed.). [Oxford]: Oxford University Press. Retrieved December 3, 2007, from Oxford Reference Online,http://www.oxfordreference.com.

The Merck Manuals. (1999-2007). Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc. Retrieved December 3, 2007, from http://www.merck.com.

Physicians’ desk reference: PDR. Oradell, NJ: Medical Economics Co.

Professional guide to diseases. (9th ed.). (2009). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Quaye, R. K. (2005).African Americans’ health care practices, perspectives, and needs. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Rovner, J. (2009).Health care policy and politics A to Z.Washington, DC: CQ Press.

U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. (2003). Index to Drug-Specific Information. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginformation.html.

U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. (2005). Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/DrugSafety/DrugIndex.htm..

Worell, J., & Goodheart, C. D. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of girls’ and women’s psychological health. New York: Oxford University Press.

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2. Search the online catalog for additional books that will give you the history, context, definitions and theories.

Below are suggested keywords to use when searching for information. You can use them when searching the catalog or the research databases. Try combining them with another concept having to do with your subject:

  • caregiving (caregiv*)
  • chronic illness
  • ethics
  • health care services
  • health promotion
  • living wills

Also, using these subject headings in the library catalog may improve your search results:

 

A helpful resource to find subject headings related to health are MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) through the National Library of Medicine.

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3. Find some general articles on your topic.

After you have located books on your topic, start looking for general journal articles on your subject. Several general databases include:

  • Academic Search Complete
    Subjects: most academic topics
    Formats: journals, magazines, newspapers, books, book reviews
    Publication dates: 1887-present
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Subjects: news, law, business
    Formats: newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, company profiles, court cases
    Publication dates: most are 1990s – present; court cases are 1789 – present
  • Article First (OCLC)
    Subjects: business, science, humanities, social sciences, medicine, technology, popular culture
    Formats: journal articles
    Publication dates: 1990 – present
  • Summon
    Subjects: interdisciplinary
    Formats: journal articles, books, conference proceedings, newspapers, images, databases and more available at CWRU
    Publication dates: Ongoing
  • TOPICsearch
    Subjects: current events, social, political and economic issues, scientific discoveries
    Formats: journal articles, magazine articles, biographies, book reviews, government information, public opinion polls, international newspapers
    Publication dates: 1990 – present

These databases are interdisciplinary and most provide a mix of popular magazine articles and scholarly research articles.

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4. Search subject specific databases for more scholarly journal articles.

After finding general journal articles on your topic, begin focusing on scholarly research articles. Citations, abstracts and, sometimes, the full-text of journal articles are found in a variety of research databases:

  • Access Medicine
    Subjects: medicine
    Formats: medical textbooks, a multi-media library, a differential diagnosis tool, reference guides, images, case studies
    Publication dates: recent
  • AgeLine
    Subjects: aging, gerontology
    Formats: journal articles, books, book chapters
    Publication dates: Selected coverage 1966 to 1977; inclusive coverage from 1978 to present
  • Alt HealthWatch
    Subjects: holistic medicine and therapies
    Formats: journals, newsletters, bulletins, books, book chapters, reports, and grey literature
    Publication dates: 1990 – present
  • CINAHL Plus with Full Text
    Subjects: nursing, allied health
    Formats: journal articles, books, dissertations
    Publication dates: 1981 – present
  • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
    Subjects: medicine; evidence-based practice
    Formats: systematic reviews, meta-analyses, protocols, editorials
    Publication dates: 1992-present
  • Education Research Complete
    Subjects: education
    Formats: journal articles, books, conference proceedings
    Publication dates: 1865 – present
  • ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
    Subjects: education
    Formats: journal articles, books, research syntheses, conference papers, technical reports, policy papers
    Publication dates: 1966-present
  • Health and Psychosocial Instruments
    Subjects: tests
    Formats: journal articles, books, technical reports, and test publishers’ catalogs
    Publication dates: 1985 – present
  • MEDLINE with Full Text (EBSCO)
    Subjects: medicine
    Formats: journal articles
    Publication dates: 1949-present
  • PsycINFO
    Subjects: psychology and related disciplines
    Formats: journal articles, books, dissertations
    Publication dates: 17th century – present
  • Social Work Abstracts
    Subjects: addictions, aging, child and family welfare, community organization, homelessness, human services, mental health, therapy
    Formats: journal articles
    Publication dates: 1965-present

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5. Browse current issues of journals that contain literature on your topic.

Journals that are most likely to contain information on the topic of health include:

Aids Care online at: E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

American Family Physician online at: E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

American Heart Journal online at: OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

American Journal of Medicine online at: OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

American Journal of Psychiatry online at: Psychiatryonline, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

American Journal of Psychoanalysis online at: OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

American Journal of Public Health online at: PubMed Central, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Bipolar Disorders online at:OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Family & Community Health online at:E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Health & Social Work online at:E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Journal of Aging & Social Policy online at: Taylor & Francis Online, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Journal of Community Health online at: OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Journal of Health & Social Policy online at: Taylor & Francis Online, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog) [Title changed to: Social Work in Public Health]

The Journal of Pediatrics online at: OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Journal of Poverty online at: Taylor & Francis Online, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Journal of Substance Abuse online at: OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment online at:OhioLINK, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

New England Journal of Medicine online at: Publishers,E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Pediatrics online at: Publisher, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Social Work in Health Care online at:Taylor & Francis Online, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Social Work in Public Health online at: Taylor & Francis Online. (Public catalog) [Formerly: Journal of Health & Social Policy]

Women & Health online at:Taylor & Francis Online, E-Journal Portal. (Public catalog)

Additional journals that cover general topics in sociology and social studies are available in the Electronic Journal Center and the E-Journal Portal.

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6. Search online for additional information.

Information located through the Internet can provide supplemental material to scholarly research articles. Material retrieved from websites should always be evaluated for currency, authorship, bias and accuracy.

Here are selected websites on health care topics:

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7. Evaluate the information you have collected from books and articles.

Consult the bibliographies of the books and articles you have selected. This will lead you to additional references and authors to investigate. Make notes of the gaps in your literature so that you can use this information when you do additional searches.