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SW 4700 - Social and Economic Justice: Home

Policy Research

Use this guide to identify a policy or issue and find sources for your policy papers.

You'll need to use a variety of sources to provide context and to support the conclusions and recommendations you are making.


If you have any questions or get stuck during your search, don't hesitate to reach out - email Kayla, the Social Work Librarian. 

Start by finding out the basics about your topic and it's context within the field of social work and social policy. 

Background information provides a general overview of a research topic including important terms and concepts, relevant demographic data, dates of specific events, and more. Background information can also help you identify specialized vocabulary and keywords that you can use to create a search string to locate relevant sources. 

Use a Google Site Search to limit the results to a specific domain or URL extension. This can help you easily identify government and organization websites related to your topic. 

Search Tip: Google Site Search

Google Site Search allows you to limit the results to a specific site or domain extension. Put "site:" in front of a site or domain extension to narrow the results. Don't forget to include your keywords or search terms before the "site:"! searches government websites searches educational websites searches non-profit organizations searches commercial websites

Example search: chronic illness 

Boolean Operators

Use Boolean Operators as a way to narrow or broaden your search:

AND: use to combine different concepts or keywords; each result will contain all search terms

Example: race AND libraries

OR: use to connect similar concepts or keywords; each result will contain at least one of the search terms

Example: medicine OR health

NOT: use to exclude words or concepts; tells the database to ignore concepts implied by your search

Example: technology NOT database

Parentheses ( ): place around related terms to search for more than one group of keywords

Example: (teaching OR education) AND race

 Asterisk *: use at the end of a keyword to search words that start with the same letters

Example: education AND librar*

Questions? Ask Your librarian!

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Joanna Anderson
Dunbar Library 120
(937) 775-3840

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