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This page provides links to resources for multiple approaches to researching a community, organizations, and broader societal issues.
This process is context specific, and will look different for every topic. As such, you are encouraged to schedule a one-on-one research appointment to discuss effective approaches for your personal project. You can schedule an appointment with a librarian under Contact Us on the UIC Library website.
One approach to researching policy related to an issue is to overtly search for articles discussing policy and legislation. The following search might be an effective approach: child* AND "sexual abuse" AND prevention AND (policy or legislation) AND "united states"
Once you identify relevant articles addressing policy, analyze bibliographies to find additional articles and "grey literature" (e.g. government reports, policy briefs, white papers, and other data).
NOTE: You can do a combined search of PAIS International, Sociological Abstracts, ERIC, and PsycINFO through Proquest Databases. The other databases must be searched separately.
Using Google to Find Policy Information and Other Forms of Grey Literature: Grey literature comes in many forms, and it can essentially be any publication that is published through non-commercial channels (such as scholarly publishers of books and journals). While the government is the largest producer of grey literature, organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions produce grey literature in the form of policy briefs, reports, and white papers (basically, papers commissioned to present reserach on a particular issue or stance). Since these publications aren't subject to peer review, they can be produced quickly and made widely available. The absence of peer review also places more importance on carefully considering the potential bias of the sponsoring organization, agency or author.
Doing a Google Search in which you combine your topic with phrases such as "policy brief," or "white paper," or "policy paper" can be an effective strategy for researching policy information published by think tanks, organizations, and agencies. You can also try this approach in the USA.gov portal.
In addition to these databases, you may want to identify and search local news sources such as Chicago Reader or Block Club Chicago, or WTTW.com. You can also try a Google Search using the News filter.
Use these specialized, in-depth guides to find additional resources:
Use these tools to identify available archival collections at libraries and museums. Sending an email or calling local libraries and museums to identify hyper-local experts can be another effective approach since not all collections are searchable or identifiable online.