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Syracuse University Libraries

Homelessness: Finding Articles (via databases)

This research guide promotes further study and conversation around the annual Rubenstein Social Justice Award.

Before you begin...

Using library databases is the most efficient way to search across collections of journal titles all at once. Each database helps you search a different body of literature and will yield results that help you form perspective on a topic. Note that Social Work content is cross disciplinary in nature. Your research will likely span across several subject areas. Think about the kind of content you are looking for and read database descriptions to identify relevant databases for your particular topic. 

Databases - great starters

Additional subject databases to consider

Each of these links takes you to a collections of subject specific databases:

Disability Studies
Gender & Women's Studies
Government Information
Health & Wellness (especially Public Health)
Political Science

Suggested terminology

Getting to a successful result often depends on the terminology used to locate research on a particular topic. Here are some terms and phrases to consider. This list is not comprehensive in nature, but it will help you begin to think about the possibilities. Each grouping below may contain broad or narrow terms.

General Terms

Homeless persons
Hidden homelessness
Homeless youth
Homeless persons--Services for--United States.
Housing instability
Housing insecurity
Shelter and street homeless
Social justice
Social exclusion
Health equity

Population characteristics

single-parent families
two-parent families
people who work, but earn too little
victims of domestic violence
“throw away” kids
unemployed – those looking and those who have never worked
retired people on small incomes
school dropouts
drug addicts
mentally ill
young mothers on welfare
families who have lost housing


Structural or societal forces
Individual vulnerability
Psychosocial aspects
Psychosocial factors
Risk assessment

Patterns of homelessness

Transitional or short-term
Episodic or intermitant
Chronic or long-term

Policy - related

Welfare reform
Homelessness – policy making
Legislation and jurisprudence – united states
Policy implementation
Policy enactment


Housing first
Harm reduction
Critical time intervention
Rapid rehousing
Foster care
Homelessness prevention
Service coordination and integration
Program implementation

Theory or frameworks

Sociological theory
Bowen Systems Theory
...and more