VCU Libraries

Research Guides

SLWK 313: Person in Society

Definitions & Statistics

Information for Paper 1

  • What is your problem? How is it defined?
  • How prevalent or widespread is the problem?
  • What is the incidence rate? How frequently does it occur in a specific time period?
  • What demographic factors are associated with the problem or condition (age, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status)?
  • What non-demographic risk factors are associated with the problem (environmental, neighborhood, school, peers, family, genetic, cultural)?
  • What protective factors (social networks, religion, after school activities, etc.) are related to the problem?
Search terms like these will help you answer these questions:
  • prevalence OR incidence OR epidemiology OR frequency OR occurrence
  • demographics OR race OR ethnic* OR age OR gender OR socioeconomic status
  • risk factor* or predict* or correlate*
  • protective factors 

Finding Background Information

Reference sources, online or in print, include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and directories. These are great starting points for background information about a specific topic.

Search library databases for peer-reviewed articles on your topic.

Your searches should look something like this

Searching Social Work Abstracts


Searching Criminal Justice Abstracts

You can also specify that terms be searched in the Title field or Abstract field, or a combination of fields.