University Libraries.

Social Welfare Policy Research: Where to Begin

Whether you are interested in healthcare reform, federal housing assistance or the child welfare system, researching topics in social welfare policy requires an interdisciplinary approach, encompassing resources from both the social welfare and public policy fields. Fortunately, the University Libraries has extensive collections in both fields.



As always, our reference collection is an ideal place to start you research. Reference resources provide an overview of a topic, including history, key terms and important events. The International Encyclopedia of Social Policy contains over 700 entries  on topics in social policy from around the world written by leading specialists, providing authoritative coverage of concepts, policy actors, welfare institutions and services. The Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare ,a four volume set, provides an overview of the social work field. The fourth volume focuses on social policy and policy practice and provides a substantive overview of the issues.



The Libraries have many books all aspects of social welfare policy, which can be found throughMinerva,  our online catalog. Some recent additions to the collection include:



Comprehensive Handbook of Social Work and Social Welfare edited by Karen M. Sowers and Catherine N. Dulmus. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, c2008. Dewey Library / Reference: HV 40 C635 2008.



The Politics of Social Welfare in America by Glenn David Mackin. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Online / HV 95 M254 2013 WWW.



The Politics of Policy Change: Welfare, Medicare, and Social Security Reform in the United States by Daniel Beland and Alex Waddan. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, c2012. Dewey Library / HN 65 B423 2012.



The Dilemma of American Social Welfare by William M. Epstein. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2012. Dewey Library / HV 91 E67 2012.


Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century by Alyosha Goldstein. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012. University Library / HC 110 P63 G6593 2012.


Voices for Children: Rhetoric and Public Policy by William T. Gormley, Jr. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, c2012. Dewey Library / HV 741 G645 2012.


The Political Economy of European Welfare Capitalism by Colin Hay and Daniel Wincott. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. University Library / JC 479 H389 2012.


Policy Creation and Evaluation: Understanding Welfare Reform in the United States by Richard Hoefer. New York: Oxford University Press, c2012. Dewey Library / HV 95 H553 2012.


Finding journal articles on social welfare policy requires searching databases in both the public policy and social welfare fields, including:

GalleryWatch CRS Reports covers Congressional Research Service reports, which are provided to members of Congress at their request. Each is an objective, nonpartisan analysis on an issue considered by congress.


PAIS International provides references to books, journal articles, government documents, and privately published research reports on almost any topic that has a public affairs dimension. It is international in coverage.


Social Services Abstracts bibliographic coverage of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development.


Social Work Abstracts covers journals and dissertations in social work and related disciplines from the NASW.


Contemporary Women’s Issues  offers content from mainstream periodicals, alternative press, hard-to-find newsletters and NGO research reports. It focuses on the critical issues and events that influence women including health, the workplace, parenting, human rights, reproductive rights and legal issues.


LexisNexis Academic  provides access to over 10,000 news, business, and legal sources, including national and international newspapers, law review articles, the federal register, federal codes, statutes and regulations. It also provides access to the renowned Shepard's Citations service for all federal and states court cases back to 1789 which tracks all references and treatments of the case as well as if it has been overturned.


Popline  provides worldwide coverage of population, family planning, and related health issues, including family planning technology and programs, fertility, and population law and policy. In addition, POPLINE focuses on particular developing-country issues including demography, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, maternal and child health, primary health care communication, and population and environment.


Westlaw Campus provides access to over 800 law reviews and journals, all federal and state cases including U.S. Supreme Court cases, statutes from all 50 states and D.C. and administrative codes from all 44 states, the full body of federal administrative regulations, and over 50,000 pages of current regulatory, administrative, and executive materials generated by key federal entities. It also provides access to newspapers, magazines, newswires and local and nationals broadcast transcripts.


More information on researching social welfare policy topics, including finding statistics, analysis, think tanks and advocacy groups, can be found on the Social Welfare LibGuides and the Public Administration and Policy LibGuides.


Blog post created by Cary Gouldin

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