What website is useful when writing research papers in human services and, more specifically, literature reviews? 

Some of the most useful websites when writing research papers are trusted search databases such as Worldcat and JSTOR. These databases will narrow down results based on the research topic and compile an array of useful academic articles. They are popular for human services and literature topics.

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Without a doubt the most useful website for doing research in human services, the humanities, or any other social science for that matter, is Worldcat: https://www.worldcat.org/.

You need a subscription to use Worldcat’s database but most universities, libraries, and public institutions have a subscription that they can allow you...

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Without a doubt the most useful website for doing research in human services, the humanities, or any other social science for that matter, is Worldcat: https://www.worldcat.org/.

You need a subscription to use Worldcat’s database but most universities, libraries, and public institutions have a subscription that they can allow you to use temporarily. You’ve specified that you need a website that can help you write a literature review. Worldcat is excellent for this because if you have a certain book or set of books that you need to write reviews for, Worldcat will search all academic and non-academic publications for other reviews of that book or reviews of similar books. Many academic journals in human services, such as the Journal of Human Services or Human Service Education, are available for you to use through Worldcat’s extensive database. These journals, along with the thousands of others that Worldcat has compiled, usually have reviews of books that have already been published, allowing you to get a sense of what other authors and scholars think are the most salient points and contributions to the literature.

Worldcat also helps you find individual academic articles that have been published about particular topics. These articles, which are themselves usually a part of edited volumes or journals, often touch on the more theoretical aspects of a branch of research. Unlike book reviews, which are also located in journals, articles are less focused on how a given book fits into a larger field of literature and more about what theoretical innovations the book makes. They are essential if you need to determine what theories are relevant to the study of human services.

It should be noted here, however, that Worldcat is only a database; it is not a journal in and of itself. This means that Worldcat simply helps you find relevant journals and articles that touch upon subject matters you are researching. If you do not have a subscription to these journals themselves, you still may not be able to access the articles you need. Usually, however, if you make a request far enough in advance, public and university libraries will be willing to purchase subscriptions or individual articles and send them to you electronically if you have a membership with the library.

Another useful website for doing research in human services and other academic fields is JSTOR: https://www.jstor.org/.

Again, you need a subscription to access JSTOR’s archive. JSTOR is more academic than Worldcat and draws all of its material from academic publicationsbooks, articles, journals, etc. It therefore has access to a higher concentration of academic works, whereas Worldcat draws from both academic and popular publications. Worldcat has greater variety but less depth, depending on how many references you need to find.

Both of these resources, Worldcat and JSTOR, are extremely useful because they have an enormous archive of reviews for you to look through. If you need to write a literature review of a certain book, there is likely already several that exist, and these can help you familiarize yourself with what other experts believe the strengths and weaknesses of that book are and where that book fits in the field as a whole. The only case in which Worldcat or JSTOR will not be helpful in this regard are for books that have been published very recently (2019 or later) because very few book reviews have been written about them.

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