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Social Welfare Research Resources

Information resources for research on social welfare topics

Policy Research Reference Materials

Policy Research

A policy is an an intervention that aims to mitigate or solve a public problem. As you do your research, consider the actors/groups involved in policy formation and influencing the agenda and the information sources they create to communicate policies. Actors may include: special interests or advocacy groups, government officials and organizations, academic scholars, think tanks, media, etc.


1. Recognize, define, and quantify the problem

2. Identify the objectives and define the details of the policy or program. Consider:

  • How will the program be implemented and by which agency or organization?
  • How should the law or program be interpreted?
  • How will resources (budget, personnel, organizational units) be allocate?
  • How and by what criteria will the policy or program be evaluated

3. Examine current and alternative policies

  • Find existing policy programs, legislation, and funding
  • What policy tools have been recommended or implemented?
    • financial: taxes, sanctions, grants
    • legal: legislation, regulation
    • educational/informational
    • rights and prohibition

Databases for Policy Research in other Disciplines

For more subject databases, search databases by subject.