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Books on an area of policy can be a good place to start to get historical context. Limit your search to the Library Catalog.
Congressional Publications: Browse Topics
Browse for your topic to get recommended background reading, viewpoints and news coverage. This is an easy way to find some GAO and CRS reports.
PAIS This link opens in a new window
Find scholarly and other authoritative articles and primary sources on historical context of a policy and on how a policy works
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports
Reports for Congress on policy issues from multiple perspectives. Reports can include historical context. From the early 90s to present.
Congressional Budget Office
Government agency that reports on cost estimates for proposed legislation. Includes reports from 1995-present.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office is an agency that provides oversight, investigation, review, and evaluation of executive programs, operations, and activities.
Homeland Security Digital Library
Important U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents on national security
Find Policy Papers and Policy Opinions
Policy briefs or policy papers summarize a policy issue and argue for a particular solution. Many policy briefs from think tanks, NGOs, and research institutes can be found online. Include the keywords "policy brief" or "policy paper" or "white paper" in your search.
Use this for contemporary policy topics. Find reports, policy briefs, articles, data and more from IGOs, NGOs, think tanks, and research organizations. Create a free account to use.
Find results from 17 leading think tanks in the US and Europe. Use this for results only from top think tanks.
Think Tank Search Engine
This searches across think tank websites. Think tanks often promote specific policy views. Be sure to evaluate them for authority.
Public Policy Topics Web Archive
A selection of archived web sites from 2009 to present containing different viewpoints on a variety of American public policy topics.
Maps with data for typical policy topics for the U.S. Only use for recent data rather than historical.
Data Planet (SAGE) This link opens in a new window
A range of data on population, politics, and economics
Depending on your assignment, there are several kinds of information you may need in researching public policy:
- Historical political or legal context of a policy
- Theory of public policy
- Research on the specific topic of your policy
- Example policy proposals and research from organizations
- Statistics, including public opinion
- Governmental legislation or regulation
- Social behavior or economic consequences related to a policy
Evaluating Information from Organizations
Scholarly articles are not the only place to find high quality research and analysis.
- There are organizations that produce original research and analysis that you may not find elsewhere.
- It may be important to understand the position of influential groups on a topic.
- Just because an organization is non-profit does not mean it is not biased. Check for political bias and funding of an organization by Googling about it.
Think Tanks Index
Provides lists of the largest and most influential think tanks around the world.
Rates the financial transparency of major think tanks.