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POSC 320: Assignment

+Assignment and research approach

Sometimes, a structured approach to research can help to organize ideas and the way you think about information sources:  

1. Explore topic basics (casual web searching)
2. Background (library catalog: books)
3. Current research (library databases: journal articles)
4. Support your argument (source citation)
5. Drafts & revisions (research librarians, writing center)

"The assignment is for you to write a 15-20 page research paper that analyzes a policy that the federal government has pursued or is presently pursuing today.  The paper should provide an analysis of the problem or problems that led to the policy in the first place; a description of what the policy is and how it has been implemented; and finally, an evaluation of the policy’s impact on the problem.
Web based sources are certainly valid but books, journal articles and newspaper citations must be the basis of your research"

Information Cycle

Manage & Organize

‚ÄčProQuest RefWorks - Source citation tool

An Act of Congress

When searching

  • If using the search box, make sure to change the drop down menu to All Legislation
  • Note the filters on the left side of the screen after you search. Of likely importance to you are Congress and Status of Legislation (Became Law).
  • The search algorithm isn't the best here. Even when I search for an exact bill number "S.2803" and limit to "Became Law" it's still 32 results! Be diligent in looking thorough things, and Control F is your friend.
  • If you click on the bill number you'll get lots of information that may be useful: summary, text, actions, titles, amendments, cosponsors, committees, and related bills.

Note that this resource is most reliable for legislation from 1973-present. For legislation older than 1973, coverage is more spotty in There may be information available (select more options under the search bar and click historical under Congress years), but you may need to search Google and find a reputable source (probably still governmental) that has the text of the legislation.

Executive Orders

When searching the Federal Register:

  • Know the year the executive order was made

Government Agencies