Social Welfare Policy: Federal/U.S.

How to Start


Bouchard, L. (Writer). (2011, January 16). Crawl Space (Season 1, Episode 2) [TV series episode]. In Bob's Burgers.

There's too much information out there, and it is overwhelming. When doing government research (or any research, really) it is handy to consult with a government documents librarian, but there's also resources to help you start off with the best contextual/background information as a foundation, too. Here's a demo of a place to start.

Federal Social Policy

Where grass roots meets the mainstream; Federal policy making is informed from historical, local and evidence-based precedent -with lots and lots of stakeholders interested in the outcome.  With research in this area, you can see what directions programs and initiatives are taking, what has failed in the past, and importantly -who (people, cities, research groups, etc.) is working directly with what interests you.

NOTE ON USAGE: Look for search boxes and dig around that way -browsing is difficult even if you know what you're looking for.  Try a few test searches and see what pops up!

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services note: see the org. chart -it may help

GovInfo This tool is a service of the U.S. Government Publishing Office that provides free electronic access to information products produced by the federal government. Everything that you'll find on Govinfo is a digital object, whether it was "born digital" or scanned from an old paper document. There are a lots of materials available, from all three branches of the government and all of their subsidiary departments. Note that this means all of the "official" government material, whether it's an internal Senate committee hearing memo or a pamphlet for informing the public about diabetes. If you are looking for more general material about government public information and services, check out

What searches could you start with?
               try:  medicare and data
                      veterans and statistics



library database: PAIS International
since this database covers public policy all over the world, it will be best to use keywords with "Utah" or other locally-specific words. 
           utah AND "public policy"
           utah AND homeless AND housing
           "salt lake city" AND "domestic violence"

library database: CQ Researcher and CQ Magazine
Guides, reports, balanced commentary on issues being talked about at the national level.  These are great to see multiple sides of an issue and are a great alternative to news websites which may be biased.

library database: Nexis UNI. [Dale vid: how do I use this?]
newspapers, national legislation and more -again, use "utah" or other locally defining keyword in searches

library database: Library Catalog (recommended!)
The University of Utah is a collector of government documents, books, articles, dissertations, etc. that may not necessarily appear in other databases.  For a general search to start with, try:
                 ("social policy" OR "social welfare") AND utah


Interesting Secondary Tools

Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library