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PS 201-American Government-Wiggins-Fall 2015  

Last Updated: Oct 7, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Research Planning Print Page

Choosing a Public Policy to Analyze

A comprehensive digital library of public policy research containing over 30,000 documents. 



Step 1: Basic Search Terms from Research Question

Start with a research question, or a topic.

What are the pros and cons of No Child Left Behind?  or "No Child Left Behind Act"

 Find important words, and refine ambiguous terms.

       What are the pros and cons of No Child Left Behind? or "No Child Left Behind Act"

(clarify: pros and cons)

Good Search Terms:

"No Child Left Behind", pros, success, cons, failure, outcomes



Define the Problem: Background Information


  • Overview   -   Gain a broad understanding of your topic
  • Definitions - Be an informed reader
  • Notable Names - Know the major players
  • Dates & Events - Contextualize your topic
  • Bibliographies - Fish those citations!

 General Encyclopedias


Find primary and secondary sources related to your topic

Statistics (Quantify if possible)

Contact Information for Federal Employees

Read more :
  • Federal Government  – Browse phone and e-mail directories for federal agencies and officials.

Websites for Locating Public Policy Information:

  • Federation of American Scientists Congressional Research Service Reports
    Congress does not make CRS reports directly accessible to the public. The Federation of American Scientists endeavors to provide current, regularly updated public access to as many non-confidential CRS reports as possible. These reports are provided without congressional or CRS authorization as a public service.
  • Wikileaks
    WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organisation. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public.

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