Once an effective question is constructed (Stage 1 of Evidence-Based Group Work), a search for evidence may be conducted. Below are terms that may help in searching for group-related evidence. There are millions of potential publications available so it is important to find material specific to group work.
A number of general terms/concepts are listed in the left column of the table below, followed by related keywords that would be entered into a search. For example, a search for material related to “depression” and “treatment groups” would include keywords related to “depression” and all the keywords below related to the term “group work,” as in the following example: (depress*) AND (“group counseling,” or “group intervention*,” or “group prevention*,” or “group psychotherap*,” or “group therap*,” or “group treatment*,” or “group work,” or “group approach”). Note that in this example, the major terms are separated by parentheses and keywords are truncated. Search engines may have different requirements for undertaking searches. Consult the instructions of the specific database for its methodology for combining terms.
Once search terms are selected, they can be used to search individual journal web sites, across multiple publications, or sites that aggregate research studies such as systematic reviews. Some of the material on this page is drawn from Macgowan (2008) where there is much more material on constructing effective and efficient searches, along with case examples to illustrate how searches are done.
Keywords for Searching, Including Truncation*
Group work, treatment groups
group work, group counseling, group treatment*, group therap*, group intervention*, group prevention*, group psychotherap*, group approach
Group dynamics, group processes, structures
group dynamic*, group process*, group structure* Note. If a particular concept is desired, use a more specific search term, such as “group cohesion,” “group development,” “group composition,” or “group interaction.”
group leader*, group facilitat*, group worker*, group therapist*, group psychotherapist* co-leader*, co-facilitat*, co-worker*, co-therap*
task group*, work group*, committee*, team*, task force*, board of directors, coalition*, cabinet*
*The words with asterisks are truncated to allow search engines to include variations in spelling or conjugation. For example, a search for group therap* will return any item with the words group therap-y, group therap-ies, group therap-ist.
Source: Macgowan, M. (2008). A guide to evidence-based group work. New York: Oxford University Press.