Skip to main content
Michigan State University

HDFS 448: Child and Family Policy: Background Information

Why should I start my research with reference books?

Use reference materials to find background information.  Reference books can help you:

  • Explore a topic: find out what has been said about this subject, trends, issues, etc.
  • Identify and define unfamiliar terms or people in your reading
  • Find references to other books and articles on the subject
  • Find specific keywords to use in online searches

CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher logo

CQ Researcher 

  • "provides award winning in-depth coverage of the most important issues of the day. Our reports are written by experienced journalists, footnoted and professionally fact-checked. Full-length articles include an overview, historical background, chronology, pro/con feature, plus resources for additional research. Graphics, photos and short "sidebar" features round out the reports. Shorter "Hot Topics" articles provide a solid introduction to subjects most in demand by students." [publisher description]

Reference Databases

Gale Virtual Reference Library 

  • A searchable database of works by Gale Publishers, a major educational publisher.


Sage Knowledge logo

Sage Knowledge 

  • Hosts a large number of works by Sage Publishers, a well-known scholarly publisher in the social sciences.
  • 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.

Encyclopedia of Social Work

Michigan State University