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SWK 440: Social Welfare Policy & Issues: Home


You need to:

1) Choose a specific social policy to research (this works best with a federal law, or U.S. Supreme Court decision)

2) Determine the history & intent of that specific policy

3) Analyze the policy's consequences & implications, especially related to social welfare

5) Use a variety of information sources, with an emphasis on scholarly sources

Getting Started on Policy Research

"Policy" can refer to anything that establishes requirements, legal or otherwise. 

Legal policy generally comes from laws, regulations, and court case decisions. These can be federal, state, or even in the example of regulations, municipal.

Sometimes you will have a specific policy in mind that you want to research (i.e. the Affordable Care Act, or Roe v. Wade).  But often, we have just a topic that we are interested in, and need to find a related specific policy.  Here are some tools to help discover policies by topic:

Finding Scholarly Information

For interpretation, historical background, and implementation effects of a policy, you need to find secondary sources of information.  The best analysis usually comes from materials written by scholars, or experts, and published either through a editorial review process, such as books published by academic publishers, or a peer-review process, used by many scholarly journals.

Tools to Help Locate Specific Policies

Once you have a good understanding of your particular policy, you will be ready to read the actual document.  This sometimes is possible to find by a Google search, but make SURE it is coming from a government source.  Below are some other tools to help you locate and read your policy.

Other General Information Sources

Other Tools to Access Materials


Nancy Lewis's picture
Nancy Lewis
1st floor, Reference Services, 581-3613,

5729 Fogler Library · University of Maine · Orono, ME 04469-5729 ; (207) 581-1673

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