VCU Libraries

Research Guides

SLWK 601: Human Behavior in Social Environment

Suggested approaches

There are alternative ways to search for theories - try terms like framework or model or approach 

  • Behaviorism
  • behaviorist model
  • biopsychosocial theory
    • biopsychosocial approach

    • biopsychosocial model

  • biopsychosocial spiritual OR biopsychosocial-spiritual

  • Conflict Theories
    • conflict perspective
  • Constructivism
    • Social Constructionism
    • Constructivist theory
  • Empowerment Theory
    • empowerment model
  • Exchange Theory
  • Family Theory
    • Family theory perspectives
    • Family Systems Theory
    • Bowen family systems
  • Humanistic theory
    • humanistic approach
    • humanistic psychology
    • humanistic framework
  • Psychodynamic Theory
    • Psychodynamic Psychotheraqpy
  • Social Learning theory
  • Symbolic Interaction Theory
    • Symbolic Interactionism
    • Symbolic Interactionist Approach

Search across recommended EBSCO databases simultaneously.

Start with Social Work Abstracts --> Choose Databases will open a new screen enabling you to select other relevant databases like SocINDEX, Psychology & Behavioral Sciences, Social Sciences Abstracts, CINAHL Complete, etc. Choose. Click OK

Plan Your Searches Carefully

Searching for theoretical articles and their application can be tricky. You need to be flexible and willing to try out various terms, fields, etc. Start without selecting fields and revise as necessary.

Results will be larger if you search Social Work Abstracts, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, SocINDEX simultaneously (see below)


In some cases, you may need to drop the word theory from your search. If you aren't finding relevant articles, try searching terms in the Abstract field.


Try using quotation marks if the words in your search phrase are not appearing together. It is also helpful to begin your search on the theory itself to see how it is being applied and/or discussed in the literature.

Use any combination of terms that make sense given the assignments.

Strategy matters - in the 2 examples that follow, note that dropping a term results in many more articles that may be very relevant