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This is the "Policy Analysis" page of the "Social Work" guide.
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Last Updated: Aug 28, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Policy Analysis Print Page

Federal Policy Analysis on the Web

  • Social Security Reseach, Statistics, and Policy Analysis
    The agency's source for retirement and disability research and OASDI and SSI program statistics.

  • Social Security - History
    Text of the Social Security Act of 1935, chronology, legislative history, and history of the Social Security Administration.
  • Congressional Research Service - Open CRS
    American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, a "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Yet, these reports are not made available to the public in a way that they can be easily obtained. A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology through the cooperation of several organizations and collectors of CRS Reports, Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports alread

State and Federal Policy Analysis

National Conference of State Legislators Human Services topics:

Child Welfare, Youth, Marriage & Family Law, Early Childhood, Military & Families, Povery & Hunger, Welfare, Budget Issues



IL Legislative Histories

Researching Illinois Legislative History

from the Illinois Legislative Reference Bureau (Illinois General Assembly)

How to Research an Illinois Legislative History

(Administrative Office of Illinois Courts)

Sample Policy Topics and Sources - Illinois

"I Need to Analyze a Policy" Helps

Identify a Federal Policy Primary Source - Tips

Keep in mind that a policy could be a law, regulatory decisions by a federal agency, as well as case law.  Our biggest challenge is to find the primary source document -  and to do that we need to find the popular name of the law/act, or an accurate citation to a law, resolution of the Houes or Senate, a legal decision, or regulatory decision.

Review general descriptions of  topics in secondary sources such as encyclopedias or text books:

Encyclopedia of Social Work Online 

Opposing Viewpoints In Context 

 CQ Researcher, an academic publication that publishes reviews of contemporary topics.   

Consider using Google/Internet to identify government agencies as well as NGO's (non-governmental organizations) who have the mission to address the social situation and issue.  Carefully review all information for authority, currentness, and accountability. 

Use the GSU Library Catalog to identify key books on the topic, and look in the book for the primary document citation.  Also, review other resources on this page  (the selected examples are mostly about the Social Security Act and its revisions). 

Consider changing your scope.. For example, if you want to write about the problem of "Postpartum Depression", the national policy that would address that issue would probably be "Mental Health Policy".  An additional way to think about topics is to consider what is most recent in public policy debates and news, which hasn't yet made it into an encyclopedia or journal article.  For example, under the health care reform passed in 2010, there may be a national policy on continuum of care for maternity services that could address "postpartum depression" or care in the postpartum period...  See the tab on the LibGuides for "Health Reform - 2010". 

Check Reference/bibliography lists for primary sources ---citations to laws, regulations, court decisions that establish a policy. 

Federal Policy

For a report of all current legislation, go to United States Senate Click on Legislation & Records

Library of Congress’s THOMAS   

Using the name of the law or public act, or legal citation, locate primary source documents by trying "Google", or the library's database,  Academic Lexis Nexis under "legal".  Be careful when printing, documents can be long.

    • Legal cases:  Landmark legal cases are available on LexiNexis, also resources in the print Reference collection.

Identify a State of Illinois Policy Primary Source - Tips

  • Try the Illinois State Agency web site.  Examples:  
  • To locate an agency, browse the offical web page listing: 
  • AND/OR use Google Advance Search to locate information... under Domain Name, enter ""   this will limit results to State of Illinois web pages. 

Try the Illinois General Assembly to locate current texts of the Illinois Compiled Statutes  and the Illinois Administrative Code.  

AND/OR -   Academic Lexis Nexis 
publishes Illinos Compiled Statutes and Case Law with annotations (notes on history, legal cases, etc.).  Click on "US Legal" (blue bars on the left).  Then click on "State Statutes, Codes & Regulations".  Select "Illinois" in the pull down box.  Search by name or ILCS chapter number.

 Case Law:  try Academic Lexis Nexis  select  "US Legal" and then "Federal & State Cases", and then under "jurisdiction", select "Illinois".



Selected Books from the Catalog

What is the Community Services Block Grant Program? - State of Illinois
Call Number: DOCS.IL 352.7344 WHAT2008
The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program was created by the federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981. The CSBG Program provides a range of services which assist low-income people to attain the skills, knowledge and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. The program also may offer low-income people immediate life necessities such as food, shelter, medication, etc.

Cover Art
The Legal Environment of Social Work - Leila Schroeder
Call Number: KF3721 .S371995
ISBN: 0871012359

Cover Art
Robert Ball and the Politics of Social Security - Edward Berkowitz
Call Number: HD7125 .B4752003
ISBN: 0299189503


Public Policy Process - Selected Books

Cover Art
Illinois Politics: A Citizen's Guide - Nowlan, Gove, and Winkel
Call Number: JK5716 .N682010
ISBN: 9780252077029

Cover Art
The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction - Ritchie
Call Number: JK1041 .R582010
ISBN: 9780195338317

Cover Art
Congress for Dummies - Silverberg
Call Number: JK1021 .S552002
ISBN: 9780764554216


Public Policy Process - Select Videos

The Congress - A film by Ken Burns
Call Number: VIDEO. JK1021 .C662004

Illinois Rulemaking - Administrative Code

  • Illinois Register
    The Illinois Register is the official state document for publishing public notice of rulemaking activity initiated by State governmental agencies. The table of contents is arranged categorically by rulemaking activity and alphabetically by agency within each category. Rulemaking activity consists of proposed or adopted new rules; amendments to or repealers of existing rules; and rules promulgated by emergency or peremptory action.
  • Illinois Rulemaking Process
  • Flynn Report
    Illinois Regulation is a summary of the weekly regulatory decisions of State agencies published in the Illinois Register and action taken by the Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Illinois Regulation is designed to inform and involve the public in changes taking place in agency administration.
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