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Identify the Rights Violated
These resources can help you identify specific rights granted to individuals by giving you the text of the actual law.
Contextualize the Social Issue/Problem
Start your search with the first resource in this list and work your way down as needed. CQ Researcher is comprehensive and easy to use - but it may not cover your topic. Congressional Publications is likely to have something on your topic, but it may not be as nicely arranged. GovInfo.gov has the widest reach but may bring back less focused results.
Great for an overall view of a problem/issue - may identify rights violated, as well as identifying stakeholders and key forces. Search on your topic in the upper right, or browse the hot topics on the right.
A lot of information on laws passed by the US Congress here. Use the Document Types field on the left to restrict your search to:
- CRS Reports - reports compiled on hot issues for Congress - good for an overview of a topic and any applicable laws.
- Hearings - transcipts/prepared statements delivered to Congress. Scan the table of contents to see who stakeholders interested in an issue are. Also good for quotes by people for/against an issue.
- Legislative Histories - if you want to view the history of a specific piece of legislation.
Search through a wide array of governmental information; if you want to limit your results to former/current presidents' statements on policies, limit to Compilation of Presidential Documents and Public Papers of the President.
Additional Information from Scholarly and Other Articles
If you need additional information on your topic, try looking at scholarly and other articles which may offer discussion of your social welfare policy as a whole or touch on specific aspects of it. These articles may provide evidence on how existing policy is (or isn't) working; you could also add in search terms addressing specific aspects of the problem you need more information on (economics, history, etc).
Resources for several different topic areas are below - if your social welfare policy doesn't fit into these categories, or you need more information, try OneSearch.
Child Development and Adolescent Studies
Searching on child welfare and policy returned numerous results in this database - if you have a specific policy or aspect of child welfare in mind you can be more specific in your search. An EBSCO database, so you can add in other databases to your search if needed using the Choose Databases link at the top of the field.
There are multiple entries in CQ Researcher on this topic (search for homeless). Be sure to check the Bibliography section for additional reading - there are links to government and NGO studies, books, and articles.
Social Work Abstracts
We don't have a specific database on homelessness, but Social Work Abstracts does have articles on homelessness and social policy. An EBSCO database, so you can add in other databases (Family and Society Studies Worldwide, Sociological Collection) to your search if needed using the Choose Databases link at the top of the field.
Potential Impacts on Policy from the Next President
I put together this guide before the election results were out, but here's the policy views from each candidate:
If your particular policy isn't address on the candidate's page, try looking through their speeches, statements, and press releases available here:
American Presidency Project
Candidates are listed by party. Hillary Clinton's section includes information from the 2008 race, as well.