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Guides & Bibliographies

Social Policy Research Resources

A Selected List of Online Research Resources with Examples and Linked Instructions

The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries Bibliography Series

John James Dillard, MA, MS, Social Sciences Outreach Librarian,
dillard@uta.edu - - cell phone: (817) 272-7518



Social workers doing research on social policies often need to draw upon materials more typically used in other academic fields: political science, law, psychology and sociology, to name a few. Researchers need to be knowledgeable about how legislation becomes law and how social movements can effect permanent societal change.

This short list, with examples and instructions, introduces a few of the many research resources that aid the social policy researcher. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322) is the primary example used throughout. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view and print some of these items.

Databases (Indexes) -- Websites for Policy Research & Online Government Reports
The items within each section are listed in order of likely usefulness.


Databases (Indexes)

All of the items in this section are available to UT Arlington students and faculty in computerized form. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view and print some of these items. The instructions for each database are pretty clear, but if you find you still have a problem with the search process, then email me at: dillard@uta.edu or call my cell phone at: (817) 272-7518.

Academic Search Premier.
Academic Search Premier contains over 3,600 full-text journals, comprising the world's largest scholarly, multi-disciplinary full text database, covering many academic topics. There are more than 4,000 citations to policy related publications in this research resource. Academic Search Premier is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. For example, a search for the phrase "violence against women act" produces several likely titles. The phrase "affirmative action" produces more than 600 full-text peer-reviewed articles, and as another example, the phrase "child welfare" produces more than a 1,000 full-text scholarly (peer reviewed) journal articles. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Academic Search Premier on the web.
LexisNexis Academic.
LexisNexis Academic provides full-text access to nearly 6,000 national and international titles. Many full-text business magazines are available in addition to medical journals, and reference information. Coverage includes non-English language sources, international newspapers, as well as national and some local newspapers. For legal research, there is U.S. Federal and state case and statute law, international legal materials, legal news and law reviews, congressional reports, CIS Legislative Histories (1970-present), the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, Congressional committee rosters, schedules for committees and subcommittees, Shepard's Citations for all U.S. Supreme Court cases back to 1789, and SEC filings. Wire service information is updated hourly. LexisNexis Academic is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. For example, a search on the phrase "violence against women act" produces more than a 1,000 citations in the "Legal Reviews" portion of LexisNexis Academic. A search on the phrase "affirmative action" produces more than 500 legal citations. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching LexisNexis Academic on the web.
Social Services Abstracts.
Social Services Abstracts provide citations, abstracts, and indexing for over 1,600 research-oriented serial publications focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development, including dissertations, and citations to book reviews. Social Services Abstracts does not include the full-text of any item; however, sometimes there is a link to a web resource. There are more than 10,000 citations to policy related publications in this research resource. Social Services Abstracts is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. For example, a search for the phrase "Violence Against Women Act" produces some likely looking articles, and a broader search on "(violence against women) and (policy or policies)" produces more than 30 likely citations. An even broader example, using several phrases "((Domestic Violence) OR (family violence) OR (conjugal violence)) AND ((policy) OR (policies)) produces more than 200 articles or books that might be of interest. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Social Services Abstracts on the web.
Social Work Abstracts.
Social Work Abstracts is produced by the National Association of Social Workers and contains more than 40,000 records from 1977 to the present. Citations are from social work and related journals and some social work dissertations. There are more than 6,000 citations to policy related publications in this research resource. Although this resource is somewhat smaller that Social Services Abstracts mentioned above it does cover some journals not covered by Social Services Abstracts, and some students find the search interface to be more user friendly. Social Work Abstracts is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. A search for the phrases "violence against women" or "domestic violence" or "family violence" or "conjugal violence" produces hundreds of citations. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Social Work Abstracts on the web.
Contemporary Women's Issues.
Contemporary Women's Issues (CWI) provides full-text access to thousands of reports and articles covering women's issues from 150 countries. The CWI brings together information from the fields of sociology, psychology, health, education, and human rights. The CWI also indexes articles from journals, newsletters, research reports from non-profit groups, government and international agencies. The CWI is updated fortnightly, covers a period from 1992 to the present. Web access is available to the full-text of more than 35,000 articles and documents from more a thousand sources. Contemporary Women's Issues is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. This database contains the full-text of more than a hundred articles and documents that address the VAWA specifically. There are also more than a thousand articles and documents that deal with the issues of "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence, or "conjugal violence." There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Contemporary Women's Issues on the web.
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts.
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts provides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the international journal literature in political science and related international relations, law, public administration, and social policy fields. Worldwide Political Science Abstracts does not include the full-text of any item; however, sometimes there is a link to a web resource. Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is updated monthly, and coverage begins in 1975. There are more than 5,000 citations to social policy related publications in this research resource. Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. For example, a search of this database produces several articles about the "violence against women act." There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Worldwide Political Science Abstracts on the web.
Criminal Justice Periodical Index.
CJPI creates a full-text virtual magazine rack for students and professionals in law enforcement, corrections administration, social work, drug rehabilitation, criminal and family law, industrial security, and other fields. Online indexing and abstracts for 150 U.S. and international journals covering a broad range of criminal justice issues (indexing from 1981 forward; abstracts beginning in 1999). Web access available to the full-text of 40+ publications. There are more than 1,000 citations to social policy related publications in this research resource. Criminal Justice Periodical Index is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. This database contains the full-text of more than 600 scholarly articles that address the issues of "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence, or "conjugal violence." There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Criminal Justice Periodical Index on the web.
Sociological Abstracts.
Sociological Abstracts (SocAbs) provides citations and abstracts on all aspects of sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. Sociological Abstracts covers an international selection of more than 1,700 journals, and other formats of information, such as: conference papers, books, and dissertations. Sociological Abstracts does not include the full-text of any item; however, sometimes there is a link to a web resource.0 Social policy and related topics are addressed by more than 13,000 indexed items. Sociological Abstracts is available to current UT Arlington faculty, and students on the web. A search of this database for the phrases "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence," or "conjugal violence" paired with "policy or policies" produces citations to more than 300 articles or dissertations. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Sociological Abstracts on the web.
WorldCat.
WorldCat is a listing of more than 55 million books, manuscripts, maps, sound recordings, web resources, journals, newspapers, magazines, and other items held by thousands of major libraries throughout much of the world. WorldCat does not include the full-text of any item; however, sometimes there is a link to a web resource. Social policy and related topics are the subject of more than 10,000 book or report type items listed in WorldCat. WorldCat is available to current UT Arlington faculty, and students on the web. A quick search finds that there are more than a 1,000 books in WorldCat that address policies that respond to the social problem of "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence," or "conjugal violence." There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching WorldCat on the web.
ProQuest Digital Dissertations.
ProQuest Digital Dissertations provides full text copies of over 100,000 doctoral dissertations and masters theses in digital format. Most titles published from 1997 forward have 24 page previews and are available as full-text PDF documents. ProQuest Digital Dissertations selectively indexes 1.6 million masters theses and doctoral dissertations accepted at thousands of colleges and universities throughout the United States. Also, some doctoral dissertations and masters theses from universities in Canada and Europe are indexed. Here is a link to a guide to aid researchers in searching the ProQuest Digital Dissertations Collection. The Digital Dissertations collection is for the use of UT Arlington faculty and students. Search engine and delivery technology requires several small steps to download a digital dissertation or masters thesis. Click on the link marked "Free Download" and follow the instructions. The ProQuest instructions are not as clear as they might be. If you have a problem with this download process call my cell phone at: (817) 272-7518 or email me at: dillard@uta.edu. ProQuest Digital Dissertations is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. There are more than 500,000 social science dissertations and masters theses indexed here, and of those there are almost 14,000 social work dissertations and masters theses that are indexed. More than 50 of these social work masters theses and dissertations deal with some aspect of "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence," or "conjugal violence," and more than 30 of these social work theses and dissertations are full-text online. A search the entire database for the phrase "violence against women act" produces four likely titles. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching ProQuest Digital Dissertations on the web.
Index to Legal Periodicals & Books.
The Index to Legal Periodicals & Books provides citations to international legal information covering all areas of jurisprudence, including: corporate law, criminal law, court decisions, and legislation. It covers legal journals, yearbooks, institutes, bar association organs, law reviews, and government publications originating in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. It also provides book review citations. Index to Legal Periodicals & Books is updated 12 times a year, and contains more than 260,000 records, indexing articles from more than 900 periodical sources. There are more that 1,000 book or article citations that deal with social policies. Index to Legal Periodicals & Books is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. A search for the phrases "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence," or "conjugal violence" produces more than 500 citations of books and articles. A much more specific search on the phrase "violence against women act" produces more than 50 book and article citations.
PAIS International.
PAIS International (Public Affairs Information Service) provides citations and abstracts about public policy and social issues on a global scale. The Public Affairs Information Service International provides bibliographic access to articles, books, hearings, reports, government publications, web resources, and other publications from 120 countries. Public and social policies and related topics are treated in more than 10,000 research resources indexed by PAIS. PAIS International is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. More than 100 citations about policy are found when the phrases "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence," or "conjugal violence" are used. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching PAIS International on the web.
PsycINFO.
PsycINFO covers psychology journal articles and other psychological publications. Updated monthly, and published by the American Psychological Association (APA), this abstracting service provides access points to more than 1.5 million citations. Public, medical, and social policies and related topics are addressed by more than 5,000 indexed items. PsycINFO is available to current UT Arlington faculty, and students on the web. More than 400 citations that deal with policy issues are found associated with the phrases "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence," or "conjugal violence." There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching PsycINFO on the web.
Criminal Justice Abstracts.
Criminal Justice Abstracts provides comprehensive coverage of the major journals in criminology and related disciplines, extensive coverage of books, and access to reports from government and nongovernmental agencies. For each document, an informative summary of the findings, methodology, and conclusions is provided. Policies and related topics are treated in more than 900 of the indexed research resources. Criminal Justice Abstracts is available to current UT Arlington faculty and students on the web. A search on the phrases, "violence against women," "domestic violence," "family violence," or "conjugal violence" paired with "policy or policies" finds more than 400 citations in this database. There is also a UT Arlington Libraries's webpage that gives information about accessing and searching Criminal Justice Abstracts on the web.

Websites for Policy Research & Online Government Reports

Thomas: In the Spirit of Thomas Jefferson, a Service of the Library of Congress.
Thomas, is a product of the U.S. Library of Congress. It was created by the Library of Congress, acting under a "directive" from the "104th Congress to make Federal legislative information freely available" via the Web. Here is a list of the databases in Thomas. The Library of Congress has been improving Thomas since it began in 1995. The CONGRESSIONAL RECORD (1989 - present) is one of the key databases. The other major portions are the Legislation itself (1973 - present) and Information about Congressional Committees including committee reports (1995 - present). Here is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) which may help researchers with this fine research resource.
Guide to Law Online.
The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the United States Law Library of Congress, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information. There are links to United States Federal Law, the law of each of the States, and the laws of other countries.
The Orator.com.
This commercial website puts bill information into categories that are often quite useful of social policy researchers.
Legal Information Institute (LII) Page for the US Code.
The Legal Information Institute at Cornell offers a the US Code in a way the is clear and easy to use. Here also is a link to the Homepage of the LII website. There is much of value at this site.
GPO Access: A Service of the United States Government Printing Office.
The United States Government Printing Office provides official information from all three branches of the Federal Government: the Federal Courts, the Executive including the President, and both Houses of Congress. Here is a link to the Judicial Branch Resources on GPO Access. This covers the United States Supreme Court as will as a large portion of the lower Federal Courts. Here is a link to the Executive Branch Resources on GPO Access. This covers Presidential documents, Executive Branch publications, the CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, and the FEDERAL REGISTER. Here is a link to the Legislative Branch Resources on GPO Access. This covers Congressional materials and other legislative resources and publications including: the full-text of each bill, the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, the UNITED STATES CODE, and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.
FirstGov.gov - The US Government's Official Web Portal.
FirstGov.gov, this homepage for the nation, is primarily a service oriented site, but it does provide access to some research material in the Reference Center.
Google Advanced Search.
Besides the databases purchased for student and faculty research use listed in the first section of this guide, and besides the government sites listed just above, there are a number of free-on-the-web resources that need to be mentioned. One of these is Google. Google.com is the current best search engine for web research, and the "Advanced Search" feature of Google allows the researcher to focus the search results in a number of key ways.

One key focus factor that is often useful is to limit the search to just government sites with the "gov" limit in the "Domain" portion of the search engine. Another key focusing limitation is to restrict the search by format. One popular publishing format is the Adobe Acrobat "pdf" format.

For example, if a research searched on the phrase "violence against women act" in the domain of "gov" for only "pdf" formatted documents, then the second and the sixth of the items listed below will come up. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view and print these two items.

Two other domains that are often useful are: "org" for nonprofit organizations, and "edu" for educational organizations. The fourth item on the list below is a webpage from a nonprofit organization and was found by using "org" in the "Domain" portion of the Advanced Google search engine. Below is a list of six examples of the type of webpages, webdocuments, and websites that are found on the Internet using Google.
º Violence Against Women Act: History, Federal Funding, and Reauthorizing Legislation.
Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. 2003
"The original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), enacted as Title IV of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (P.L. 103-322), became law in 1994.... The VAWA established within the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), a number of discretionary grant programs...." This report examines these programs and provides "Background and Statistics."
kohl.senate.gov/pdf/VAWA.pdf
This 23 page report is free for research use on the web.
º Office on Violence Against Women.
Within the United States Department of Justice, the Office on Violence Against Women provides legal and policy leadership on issues regarding violence against women. This type of governmental webpage can serve the social policy researcher with quite a bit of useful information.
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo
Governmental sites such as this often aid the policy researcher.
º NOW and the Violence Against Women Act.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is a United States political action organization. "The National Organization for Women is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since its founding in 1966, NOW's goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all women. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.
www.now.org/issues/violence/vawaind.html
Political organization sites such as this often help the social policy researcher.
º Summary of Criminal Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act.
This site from the United States Department of Justice, United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York provides an overview of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
www.usdoj.gov/usao/nyw/victim_witness/html/violence_women.htm
Governmental sites often aid the social policy researcher who is trying to understand a complex law.
º State of Georgia Violence Against Women Act Implementation Plan.
A Report of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Atlanta, Georgia, Gale Buckner, Director.
Atlanta, GA: Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. 2003.
The subtitle of this report is, "A Comprehensive Strategy for Addressing Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking through the VAWA Grant Program."
www.state.ga.us/cjcc/pdf/vawa_implementation.pdf
This 30 page report is free for research use on the web.
Google's Uncle Sam.
The Google.com web search engine folks have created a specialized search interface that searches the .gov domains, the .mil domains, and the .us domains. This should bring up only United States of America, State and Federal webservers. This is handy if you are looking for government policy information. While Uncle Sam is not as flexible as the Google Advanced Search interface, many searchers have found it to be quick and useful.


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Prepared by:
John James Dillard, MA, MS, Social Sciences Outreach Librarian
dillard@uta.edu
: (817) 272-7518 - office: (817) 272-7518


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