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Ohio University

Social Work

This is a Social Work research guide. It offers a variety of information to help you with your research needs

SW 3602 Materials

In your groups, you will identify a social welfare problem (from a chapter in the text) and a policy that addresses that problem as part of a policy analysis paper (10 pages). The policy must be a current U.S. federal or state law that is approved by the instructor.

You cannot write about SNAP as it is the exemplar paper topic.

Paper Resources

Introduction:

  • When this law was enacted, what social welfare problem was it trying to solve? Why was this problem a problem? What were the goals of this bill? Describe the goals of the proposed bill.
  • What kind of people did this law affect at the time (or just before) it was initiated (i.e. demographics, location, etc.) and how?
  • Did the social problem effect different people differently? (i.e. class, race, etc.) Note injustice issues.

Resources:

  • ProQuest Congressional - find your original law, amendments, recent version, and congress proceedings and cases related to our law/problem
  • Google search for searching several government websites at once
    • site:.gov (food stamps OR SNAP OR supplemental nutritional assistance program)
  • America's Newspapers - find information from other 2,000 newspapers including by state. 
  • Alice Catalog - searching for books and government reports on your law/problem
    • ex. Search keywords in any field: Food stamps OR SNAP
  • CQ Researcher - basically this is a more legitimate version of Wikipedia and a good place to look for background information on topics/problems.
  • HeinOnline -U.S. law, international law, policies, books, cases, etc.
  • LexisNexis - especially good for news, legal sources, and business. Includes national and regional newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, international news, and non-English language sources.
  • Academic Search Complete- See what scholars are publishing on your topic, multidisciplinary
  • CQ Press Political Reference Suite- Includes political reports nationally and internationally, stats, etc.
  • ArticlesPlus - first green tab on library's main page. Can search by topic and find books, newspapers, videos, articles, etc. on topic. You will get a lot of results, but you can narrow down to specific kinds of information. Does not search everything the library has, but a good place to start.

Things to Consider:

  1. Policy creation is an evolutionary process, something existed to combat your social problem before the main law was enacted. What are one or two laws that were enacted BEFORE your law to combat this problem? What set the stage?
  2. What are the PROS/CONS of these policies and their alternatives?
  3. What is NASW's position on your social problem/program? (Book available on Reserves on 4th floor in the library)
  4. What are the views of the Democrats and Republicans on your social problem/program at the time of your law? What were the main points and controversies at the time of the law? What was happening at the time of enactment?

Resources:

  • America's Newspapers - find information from other 2,000 newspapers including by state. 
  • CQ Researcher - basically this is a more legitimate version of Wikipedia and a good place to look for background information on topics/problems.
  • ProQuest Congressional - find your original law, amendments, recent version, and congress proceedings and cases related to our law/problem
  • LexisNexis - especially good for news, legal sources, and business. Includes national and regional newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, international news, and non-English language sources, etc
  • Congressional Research Service [CRS] Reports- conducts research and analysis for Congress on a broad range of national policy issues.
  • ProCon.org - Pros and Cons of controversial issues
  • Academic Search Complete- See what scholars are publishing on your topic, multidisciplinary
  • CQ Press Political Reference Suite- Includes political reports nationally and internationally, stats, etc.
  • HeinOnline -U.S. law, international law, policies, books, cases, etc.

Things to Consider:

  • Provide the name and number of the main federal and state law. Also note the specific relevant sections enacted to address the social problem AND the current version of the law-describe programs & funding sections.
  • Provide a brief summary of this law and explain sections specific to the problem.
  • Name and describe Ohio Administrative Code specifics about programs/strategies to implement the law and address the problem.
  • Refer to your agency paper information and research to show how well your policy works in practice.
  • Describe reports/data used by the agency to demonstrate service & program effectiveness & efficiency.

Resources:

  • ProQuest Congressional - find your original law, amendments, recent version, and congress proceedings and cases related to our law/problem
  • Google search for searching several government websites at once
    • site:.gov (food stamps OR SNAP OR supplemental nutritional assistance program)
  • LexisNexis - especially good for news, legal sources, and business. Includes national and regional newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, international news, and non-English language sources.
  • HeinOnline -U.S. law, international law, policies, books, cases, etc.
  • Ohio Capitol Connection -Ohio legislative and governmental information service, including bill tracking, the full text of bills, the administrative code and revised code, committee rosters, and legislator information.
  • Ohio Revised Code, Ohio Administrative Code -Official site for the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code.
  • Ohio Legislature Website -Defaults to this year. Includes the daily Journal, tracking what happens day by day.

Things to Consider:

  • Describe how effective the policy works to address the targeted social problem in practice per the agency & the research.
  • Discuss recommended policy changes – name a bill that addresses these issues.
  • Briefly compare this policy to another country’s policy. Provide a conclusion section.

Resources:

  • SocINDEX or ArticlesPlus for articles relating to a minority/vulnerable group who have been effected by both the problem and program.
  • ProQuest Congressional - find your original law, amendments, recent version, and congress proceedings and cases related to our law/problem
  • congress.gov - By default, the search is limited to the current Congress, but you can easily change the focus of your search by clicking on the dropdown box on the left labeled Current Legislation to all legislation since 1973- including Committee Reports, the Congressional Record, Nominations, Treaty Documents, House Communications, or Senate Communications.
  • The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy & Research -- check out the United Nations too
    • Note these are both .org sites so the Google trick shown above would find these sites.
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