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HSERV 51 West

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Student of social work holding a sign saying "social workers are important to our nation's future because... we help people reach their full potential"

Guide to Research on COVID-19 & Mental Health

Take notes on a Google Doc or notebook

Background Information & Keywords

Identify the  mental health issue you want to focus on.  For example:

  • Positive psychology
  • emotional resilience
  • trauma or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Families & parenting
  • College students

Use Google News to do some background research & identify keywords for your topic. 

For example, for families & parenting some keywords might be:

  • parents, mothers, moms, caregivers
  • working parents, working moms or mothers, gender, "shecession"
  • inequality, inequity
  • risk factors
  • supports

Background Information

What human services program or agency are you researching?  Do some background research to learn more about the population they serve and the services they provide.

Find Background Information

COVID-19 & Mental Health

Local Information

Local Health Information

Now that you've done some background research, it's time to narrow your topic. Remember: the shorter your final paper, the narrower your topic needs to be. Here are some suggestions for narrowing and defining your topic:

  • Is there a specific subset of the topic you can focus on?
  • Is there a cause and effect relationship you can explore?
  • Is there an unanswered question on the subject?
  • Can you focus on a specific time period or group of people?

Describe and develop your topic in some detail. Try filling in the blanks in the following sentence, as much as you can:

I want to research ____(what/who)____

and ____(what/who)____

in ____(where)____

during ____(when)____

because ____(why)____


Narrowing your topic makes it more specific, which makes it easier to research and write about.

Research triangle going from broad (used clothing) to narrow (impact of thrift store shopping) to narrower (what are the economic and environmental benefits of thrift stores, and who are the primary customers?)

Citations & Attributions

Image of social worker student by jojomotion is CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This guide was adapted with permission from Kennesaw State University Library System