Social Work Liaison's Toolkit : Policy Research

Licensed and free resources for conducting research on policy issues.

Licensed Resources

From the National Association of Social Workers and Oxford University Press -- a great starting place, policy on many social work topics. 
 
Contains many sections on Social Policy and Policy Practice.
 
From ProQuest. Contains congressional documents (hearings, committee prints, documents, and legislative histories) which are searchable through this full text database. CRS research reports are particularly helpful for overviews of federal policies on an array of topics. 
 
Social Services Abstracts lock
Social Services Abstracts, from Proquest, is one of the top databases for social work articles. It Indexes journals worldwide related to the fields of social work, human services, community and mental health services, gerontology, poverty and health and social policy. 
 
Public Affairs Information Service (PAIS) International lock
PAIS International, from ProQuest covers more than 600,000 journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports and other publications covering law, international relations, human rights, politics, social conditions and many more public policy topics. 
 
This bibliographic index provided by EBSCO covers national and global public policy issues ranging from public health, the environment, housing, human and civil rights to international commerce and conflict. It covers scholarly journals, conference papers, trade publications and government documents. 
 
Index to public policy reports from a wide range of think tanks and Non-governmental organizations.
 
The CQ Almanac contains unbiased, objective and comprehensive summaries of all Capital Hill activities from all previous sessions of Congress.
 
CQ Congress Collection is a reference tool for analyzing the history and development of legislation, and legislators from the U.S. Congress. It includes unbiased commentary, bibliographic and voting data for members of Congress, legislative information organized by topic, key votes, interest group scores of members of Congress. 
 
CQ Researcher is noted for its in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, and other policy issues. Reports are published at least 44 times a year by CQ Press and include background, chronology, pro and con expert opinions, charts, and graphs from 1923 to current. 
 

Free Resources

The Green Book is a key resource for federal programs. It provides updated statistics and background information on programs such as Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Foster Care and welfare. Additionally, it includes a discussion of related issues, such as the well-being of the elderly and of children and families.
 
Reports written by the Congressional Research Service, meant to keep members of Congress and their staff up to date on important policy and government issues. 
 
An additional collection of CRS reports, gathered by the University of North Texas Digital Library from 1990 to the present. 
 
Open Congress is a project by the non-profits Participatory Politics Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation. This site helps users track both Senate and House bills, resolutions and votes. Open Congress also provides a way to track political campaign contributions to find possible connections between voting records of Members of Congress and the organizations financing their election campaigns. 
 
A site similar to Open Congress, GovTrack.us provides open information about members of Congress, how they vote, bills they sponsor, and committee membership. Users of this site can track major legislative activity, roll call votes, bills enacted, bills introduced and other information. 
 
State legislative data is available on this site. You can find your state legislators, learn the history of state bills, read the full text of bills,  follow legislative votes and set up alerts on specific legislation or topic areas. 
 
Congress.gov is now the official source for federal legislative information, replacing THOMAS.gov, which will be retired by the end of 2014. Congress.gov is managed by the Library of Congress. It provides a way to search federal legislation, Congressional Committee proceedings,  information on members of Congress and the Congressional Record.  Full text of bills and public laws are available starting with the 93rd Congress (1973). House and Senate roll call votes are available starting with the 101st Congress (1989). The Congressional Record is also searchable from 1995 to the present.
 
MetaLib is a custom search engine from the GPO which allows users to search across multiple U.S. Federal Government databases to retrieve reports, articles and citations. 
 
USA.gov is the official U.S. government web portal for the general public.Information can be found by browsing topics and government agencies or by searching. Links are also available to state, local and tribal government information.   
 
The U.S. Government Printing Office provides links to freely available government hearings, reports, public and private laws, the Federal Register and the U.S. Code. 
 
The Urban Institute is a U.S. think tank which gathers data and takes part in studies and research related to U.S. social policy. Urban Institute Policy Centers include Health Policy, Labor, Human Services & Population Policy, Low-Income Working Families Project and Education Policy. 
 
IssueLab is a collection of over 5,000 foundation sponsored reports on a wide variety of topics. It includes case studies, white papers, evaluations, fact sheets, issue briefs, annual reports and other information. 
 

Social Work Liaison's Toolkit || Social Work/Social Welfare Committee || EBSS