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Welcome to your library guide to POL 220: US Public Policy! I designed this guide with your research needs in mind. Be sure to pend some time exploring what's here!
- Don't hesitate to ask if you've got questions! Send me an email - I enjoy helping you solve any research problems you have. We can work via email or set up a virtual or in person time to chat.
- You can also find library and research help at the library's Information Desk or via Reference Services.
- Depending on your topic, you may also want to explore resources on the Political Science library research guide.
If you need a refresher on using the library, consult our Library FAQs and an overview of the Library. We also have a guide on how to do research well - use it to brush up and expand your research skills! Finally, we also have a guide on how to cite sources.
Newspapers are an EXCELLENT source for tracing policy histories. If you search for newspapers online, however, you often hit paywalls. Fortunately, you can access that exact same content - for free - through the library! Use the databases below to access full text of newspapers. The databases are updated constantly, so you'll even find today's papers already in the databases.
US Newsstream This link opens in a new window
Indexing and selected full text access to over 350 newspapers from around the world. Archival coverage begins in 1985 for some titles. Access is provided by eLibraryMN (ELM).
Access World News (Newsbank) This link opens in a new window
Provides the full text of global, regional and local news sources. Coverage ranges from over 40 Minnesota sources to international sources from over 200 countries.
We have a number of primary source and other resources that might be useful, depending on your topic. Browse the databases below to see what might fit.
CQ Researcher Online This link opens in a new window
Provides reporting and analysis on issues in the news, with coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy. Each report includes an introductory overview, a background and chronology, an assessment of the current situation, a pro/con debate by representatives of opposing positions, and bibliographies of key sources.
Gun Regulation and Legislation in America This link opens in a new window
This collection brings together journals, compiled legislative histories, congressional hearings and reports, Supreme Court briefs, and more related to gun regulation.
Civil Rights and Social Justice This link opens in a new window
An online collection of publications on civil rights in the United States. This collection includes publications from the Commission on Civil Rights, legislative histories on landmark legislation, briefs from relevant U.S. Supreme Court cases, and more. The Civil Rights & Social Justice database is provided to libraries at no cost by HeinOnline.
Here are the slides from our library session.
You'll be able to access many government documents online, although it gets a little trickier the farther back you go, as not everything has been digitized. These resources will point you to on legislation at both the federal and state levels.
Georgetown Law Library has an excellent guide to finding government documents and legislative histories (although note that we have access to some - but not all - of the resources mentioned on that guide.)
Congressional This link opens in a new window
Index to congressional publications from 1970 to the present, legislative histories for public laws, testimony at congressional hearings, and biographical and committee information. Also allows searching of the Congressional Record and Federal Register.
From the Library of Congress. Provides the text of bills introduced in Congress along with committee action from the 104th Congress (1995) to present. Users can search the site by bill number or keyword to learn about the legislative process, find a state's members of Congress, and access a comprehensive database on current and past legislation. The site also provides a full-text search of the Congressional Record, a daily record of activity in Congress, and committee information. Most official state Web sites provide similar bill-tracking information for state legislatures.
Congressional Research Service Reports
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a federal legislative branch agency located within the Library of Congress that conducts in-depth analysis and research on various topics for members of Congress. Their reports are authoritative, objective and nonpartisan and are an excellent source of information on various public policy issues.
From their website: "GovTrack.us began in 2004 as a project to use technology to make the U.S. Congress more open and accessible. Today we’re the leading non-governmental source of legislative information and statistics."
"An interactive data visualization that allows anyone to explore actual patterns of lawmaking in Congress."
National Conference of State Legislatures
An excellent source for exploring state-level legislation on various issues.
Minnesota State Legislature
Also look at your state's legislature site; the example above takes you to Minnesota's State Legislature, but if you're working on another state, search the web to find their government portal.
Finding Court Rulings
Consult our Guide for Law for even more resources, in addition to the ones below.
A commercial directory to law resources. Includes a handy law dictionary and a well-designed full text database of US Supreme Court decisions from 1893 to the present. Site requires free registration.
Legal Information Institute, Cornell University
A directory to legal information on the web, including texts of case law and statutes for state, federal and international jurisdictions. The site - organized alphabetically by topic - also provides links to court opinions and directories to law organizations and journals. From the Cornell University Law School.
Supreme Court Opinions via Findlaw
Includes decisions from 1760 to present, searchable by date, party name, or case number.
Additional Government Resources
Sources for Opinion Polls
Associated Press/IPSOS Poll
Annotated list of polls with a focus on the economy and politics; includes US, Canada, and international polls.
A site that analyzes poll and other data for politics, sports, economics, science, and culture. The underlying data is also made available in many cases.
Gallup Poll - Ref HN 90 .P8 G35
An annual compilation of opinion poll statistics gathered by the Gallup Organization, covering from 1935 to the present. Indexes make it easy to find figures from different years. This organization also maintains a website which contains selected data at Gallup.com
LAPOP-Latin American Public Opinion Project
Results from most Latin American countries as well as Madagascar, Israel, and Albania.
Pew Research Center
A non-partisan site that researches politics, media, social trends, religion, science and technology, Hispanic Americans, and global opinion.
"An independent, nonpartisan resource
on trends in American public opinion."
Survey Research Center
From the University of Michigan.
Washington Post Polls
Results of surveys conducted by the Washington Post as well as links to other polls.
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