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Public Policy: Finding Articles

Database Search Tips

AND requires all specified words to appear in each document

          e.g. public policy AND women
 OR    requires any of the specified words to appear in each document

         e.g. drug policies OR narcotic policies
 NOT  excludes terms not desired

          e.g. policies NOT procedures

Combining ideas

       e.g. public polic* AND (women* OR female* OR feminis*)
              (domestic violence OR family violence OR spous* abuse) AND (policy OR policies)
  •         prioritize your concepts to begin your search with the most important one
  •         consider additional concepts to use, if necessary, to reduce or expand retrieval
  •         if the database has a thesaurus, either online or print, check for suggested terms


Other useful databases

Many of the Library's 400+ databases contain material that can be used in public policy research. Below are a few recommended databases to begin researching a topic. 

Other subject categories may also have relevant databases, for example: Education, Human Justice, Political Science, Social Sciences, Sociology etc.


Below are some databases that are helpful in locating other (non-journal) information related to public policy, including databases about government publications., publications from NGOs, statistical information, etc. 

Having Problems?

Not enough material?

  •           if you have combined several concepts using AND, start again and search only the most important one. Then add the next most important   one, and so forth
  •           look at each concept and see if you can think of additional synonyms (use OR)
  •           if you are searching free-text, look at your terms carefully and think of ways to broaden your phrasing


Too much material?

  •         look at a sample of the items retrieved; if a high proportion is not relevant, add another concept
  •         sometimes irrelevant records may be eliminated by NOTing out a particular aspect or population
  •         try limiting by language, date, form of material, particular field instead of free-text