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SW 520 Social Welfare Policy: Home

In this guide

This guide is focused on the various resources useful for your social policy research:

  • Encyclopedias: Reference resources for getting background information on the issue.
  • Data & Statistics: What is the extent of the problem? Find statistics to inform your analysis.
  • Media & Public Opinion: What do people think about the policy? What is the media reporting about the policy?
  • Policy & Advocacy Groups: Who is arguing for the policy? Who is arguing against it? Explore perspectives on both sides.
  • Federal Laws & Regulations: Resources for finding full text of federal laws and regulations, historical and current.
  • State/Local Laws & Regulations: Resources for finding text of state law and administrative rules. 
  • Agency Implementation: The agency or office that is responsible for a policy will have a lot of valuable information (programs, grants, statistics, cost).
  • Evaluation & Research Articles: What is the impact of the policy? What does the research say? Search for scholarly articles on the social issue or the effects of the policy.
  • How to Cite Policy Resources: Write citations for public laws and other government documents.

Research Tips

Research Tips:

  • Think like a detective. Identifying the specifics about a policy, such as the formal and informal titles, bill or law number, and key individuals and groups that pushed for the policy can be helpful as you look for information across many different types of information sources.
  • If you are researching a newly enacted policy, it is unlikely that the impact has been assessed yet. Typically, research on the impact of a policy will take at least two years to appear. In this case, look for similar policies enacted in other jurisdictions that can reasonably provide useful information about how a policy will unfold. 
  • Be flexible. Policy research involves using many different types of resources and websites, all with their own specific ways of searching.
  • Use CTRL + F to find your topic in lengthy online documents. 

Social Work & Social Sciences Librarian

Kimberly Pendell
Contact:
Office hours by appointment
kpendell@pdx.edu
(503) 725-4501

Policy Research Video Tutorial

To skip ahead to specific sections, please refer to the following time stamps:

  • Using different sources for research 0:34
  • Tour of useful resources 1:05
  • Ask a Librarian 1:31
  • Exploring the Social Problem 1:48
  • Exploring Encyclopedias 2:01
  • Data & Statistics 2:58
  • Media & public opinion 4:01
  • Investigating the Policy 5:44
  • Searching bills and laws 5:50
  • Government agency information 7:50
  • Looking for Impact Policy 8:46
  • Think tank & advocacy reports 8:12
  • Finding research articles 10:40
  • Search tips & Conclusion 11:45

Ask a Librarian

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