Social Work - SW 3602/5602 Intro

This is a Social Work research guide. It offers a variety of information to help you with your research needs

Social Work Policy Course

This guide follows the steps of the policy analysis paper as discussed in SW 3602 and 5602. Use this information to orientate yourself to the research process as it pertains to your assignment. Find the specific syllabus in your BlackBoard course. This is an additional reference.

Getting Started

Intro: Select a law (1 problem related to law- to get inspiration and find a problem, see Social Work Policy Topics)

  • What law did you use in your previous group assignment?
  • When this law was enacted, what social welfare problem was it trying to solve? Why was this problem a problem? What were the goals of this bill?
  • What kind of people did this law affect at the time (or just before) it was initiated (i.e. demographics, location, etc.) and how?
  • Below are some places to look for your topic and gain inspiration and insight on current topics and policies


  • ProQuest Congressional - find your original law, amendments, recent version, and congress proceedings and cases related to our law/problem
  • Google search for searching several government websites at once
    • (food stamps OR SNAP OR supplemental nutritional assistance program)
  • America's Newspapers - find information from other 2,000 newspapers including by state. 
  • Alice Catalog - searching for books and government reports on your law/problem
    • ex. Search keywords in any field: Food stamps OR SNAP
  • CQ Researcher - basically this is a more legitimate version of Wikipedia and a good place to look for background information on topics/problems.
  • LexisNexis - especially good for news, legal sources, and business. Includes national and regional newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, international news, and non-English language sources.
  • Academic Search Complete- See what scholars are publishing on your topic, multidisciplinary
  • CQ Press Political Reference Suite- Includes political reports nationally and internationally, stats, etc.
  • ArticlesPlus - first green tab on library's main page. Can search by topic and find books, newspapers, videos, articles, etc. on topic. You will get a lot of results, but you can narrow down to specific kinds of information. Does not search everything the library has, but a good place to start.