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Michigan State University

Social Work Policy: Public Policy Article Databases

In-depth guide to policy information sources

Public Policy Information

Searching for Public Policy Organization Documents

There are a few different ways to approach this:

  1. Use a library database, which gathers together many different policy papers in one place.

  2. Go directly to a known public policy organization and search their site. Repeat this for several different organizations, making sure to represent all sides of the political spectrum.
    Scroll down for a list of well-known websites

  3. Search the web generally and look for results from public policy organizations (casts the widest net, but can be difficult to sort through all the results).

Library Databases

Library Databases

A library database that offers access to U.S. foreign and domestic policy papers and gray literature, PolicyFile is updated weekly with abstracts and links to the latest reports, papers, and documents from think tanks, research institutes, and agencies.  In the advanced search, PolicyFile allows you to search by political leaning, which can help you identify different viewpoints.


PAIS International is a database that covers public policy papers from around the world in several languages.  PAIS International is a helpful resource for finding information on international public policy.

Organizational Websites

A few major organizations are listed here.  Be sure to go to the Think Tank Library Guide for a more complete listing.

Michigan Public Policy Organizations

Searching the Web

Be careful when searching GoogleKnow where the information is coming from, why it is there and when it was released!

Websites from advocacy groups, non-profits, and non-partisan news organizations can be a good place to start.  Remember that some organizations will take a particular stance on issues, so remember to use the caution mentioned above when evaluating sites.  Search the web on your own or try one of the websites listed below.

The following list of websites is not exhaustive and is given only as suggested starting points.

  • PolicyArchive
    This website collects and makes searchable documents from public policy organizations.

Advocacy Organizations

  • National Association of Social Workers

  • National Association of Social Workers - Michigan Chapter

Opinion Articles

Opinion Articles

When you need to talk about the various points of view on your topic.  You may also try Think Tank information under the Public Policy Websites and Databases, and under the News Articles Tabs. The following sources can identify public opinion, as well as the opinion/intent of policy makers (e.g., legislators, lobbyists, expert consultants). 

  • Opposing Viewpoints
    This is a database of mostly viewpoint essays, although you will find some additional content as well.  Useful to understand what the various arguments are regarding a particular social problem.
  • Legislative Hearings in ProQuest Congressional
    Legislative Hearings provide discussion of various viewpoints on issues, usually with opinions of expert witnesses in addition to our legislative representatives.
    After running a search in ProQuest Congressional, use the limiters on the right-hand side of the search results screen to narrow your results by document type. You should see Hearings listed as a document type: click on this to limit the search to show only Hearings. If you do not see Hearings listed, try the More Options link.
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