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Michigan State University

Social Work Policy: Background Information

In-depth guide to policy information sources

Start with Background Information

Background Information

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

Encyclopedias and reference books (e.g. handbooks, dictionaries, etc.) are a starting point to gather knowledge on a topic that is new to you.  They can be a used to supplement your textbook readings and will help you understand how your topic fits into a broader context.  Importantly, encyclopedia articles identify the major works on a topic and introduce terminology that you can use as search terms as you continue on with your research.

Top Pick! Encyclopedia of Social Work

Second Best Bet: Sage Knowledge

This is a database that searches across many encyclopedias and handbooks from Sage, a prolific publisher in the social sciences of many subject-specific reference books.

Sage Knowledge search tip: For better search results, run your search and then modify the "Refine by Type" facet (located on the right-hand side of the screen) by leaving on the boxes for Chapters and Entries checked.

Refine by type option in Sage Knowledge database

More Options...

Other Databases with Background Information

Additional Reference Books

Michigan State University