Getting Started on Social Welfare Policy Research
Research in social welfare policy requires a multi-disciplinary approach that draws sources from both the social welfare and Public Policy fields. Fortunately, Dewey Library has a plethora of materials in both.
Reference materials are always a good place to start your research because they give you a quick overview of a topic and help you find keywords that can be used during your search process. The Encyclopedia of Social Work (Dewey Reference HV 12 E53 2008 and also online) is a four volume encyclopedia that provides an overview of more than 400 social welfare topics and definitions. Each article details a topic’s background, scope and issues and includes a useful bibliography. The Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare (Call Number: Dewey Library Reference HV 40 C635 2008), also a four volume set, provides an overview of the social work field. The fourth volume focuses on social policy and policy practice and provides a substantive overview of the issues.
A number of books on social welfare policy have recently been added to the Libraries’ collection, including:
• Welfare, by Mary Daly (Call Number: Dewey HV 51 D36 2011)
• Gender and Welfare in Mexico: The Consolidation of a Postrevolutionary State, by Nichole Sanders (Call Number: University Library HN 117 S26 2011)
• Social Policy for Children and Families: A Risk and Resilience Perspective, edited by Jeffrey M. Jenson and Mark W. Fraser (Call Number: Dewey HV 741 S623 2011)
• Analyzing Social Policy: Multiple Perspectives for Critically Understanding and Evaluating Policy, by Mary Katherine O’Connor and F. Ellen Netting (Call Number: Dewey HN 17.5 O26 2011)
More books can be found by searching Minerva our online catalog.
Once you have an overview of your topic, you can search for journal articles, research reports, statues and regulations in the Libraries’ extensive collection of databases. Some of the most useful databases for social welfare policy research are listed below.
•Westlaw provides access to over 800 law reviews and journals, all federal and state cases including U.S. Supreme Court cases, statutes from all 50 states and D.C. and administrative codes from all 44 states, the full body of federal administrative regulations, and over 50,000 pages of current regulatory, administrative, and executive materials generated by key federal entities. It also provides access to newspapers, magazines, newswires and local and nationals broadcast transcripts.
• LexisNexis Academic provides access to over 10,000 news, business, and legal sources, including national and international newspapers, law review articles, the federal register, federal codes, statutes and regulations. It also provides access to the renowned Shepard's Citations service for all federal and states court cases back to 1789 which tracks all references and treatments of the case as well as if it has been overturned.
•ProQuest Congressional provides access to a comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information, including the full text of congressional publications, finding aids, a bill tracking service, and the full text of public laws and other research materials.
•PAIS International provides references to books, journal articles, government documents, and privately published research reports on almost any topic that has a public affairs dimension both in the US and internationally. Coverage begins with 1972 but the PAIS Archive extends coverage back to 1915.
•Social Work Abstracts provides bibliographic coverage of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development.
There are a variety of internet resources that are of use to the social work policy researcher. The websites of federal agencies National Institute on the Aging, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offer a wealth of information.
The website regulations.gov[ has a searchable database of regulations from almost 300 federal agencies, including the Administration for Children and Families, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Prisons Bureau. Through the site, users can comment on a regulation, set up email alerts or an RSS feed by agency, and submit an application, petition or adjudication document.
The Social Work Policy Institute (SWPI), a think tank established within the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation, researches a variety of issues relating to social work and policy. The Maxwell School Center for Policy and Research at Syracuse University conducts a broad range of interdisciplinary related to public policy, including social welfare. The Center publishes a variety of working papers and policy briefs on their website.
More information on resources in social welfare can be found on the Social Welfare LibGuides . Public Policy research resources and tips can be found on the Public Administration and Policy LibGuides . In addition, you can stop by the Reference Desk for some one-on-one assistance.