LPP 244:Introduction to Law, Public Policy and Ethics

last modified 2018-03-09T18:33:47-04:00

Hello! This page provides links to various resources designed to help you complete your Public Policy Analysis Assignment. If you need further assistance, please get in touch with , the subject librarian for Political Science. Alternatively, Ask Jack!

I've broken down the information according to the different steps of your assignment below. In addition, here are some links out to general research information if you need a refresher on anything:

General Search Tips and Strategies ~~ Scholarly, Trade, and Popular Sources ~~ Evaluating Sources

Part 1 - Selecting a Public Policy Issue for Your Analysis

Hopefully you've already completed this step, but if not, here are the links to Dr. Johnson's recommended websites for ideas:

CQ Researcher — Coverage of political and social issues, with reports on topics in health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the U.S. economy.






Part 2 - Conducting a Policy Research Interview

At this point, you should actually be starting to work on Parts 3 and 4! Researching your issue, and especially potential solutions to your issue, can be extremely helpful in developing interview questions. Most interviewees are also pleased (and sometimes flattered) to speak to someone who has clearly taken an interest in their particular knowledge. As you select potential persons to interview, spend some time looking around their company/organization website or looking through the local news for information about what they've been doing so that you can ask specific questions. 

Need help finding someone to interview? You might want to try looking for nonprofit groups who are interested in your policy issue, as well. Here are a couple of resources to help with that:

National Council of Nonprofits - Locate nonprofit organizations around the nation. Learn about various organizations related to your issue, as well as issues of general interest to nonprofit organizations in the US.

Georgia Center for Nonprofits - Similar to, but not affiliated with, the National Council of Nonprofits, this organization offers many of the same services to nonprofits located in Georgia. You can use this resource to locate basic information about nonprofits in our state.

Part 3 - What Else Has Been Tried? 

For this portion of the assignment, "you will need to research and find an example of at least one other city or state that has tried to address the public policy issue that you are writing about." 

From Part 1, you should have some sense of other communities which have attempted to address this issue. I expect most of you are comfortable searching online in general - in addition, I recommend the following steps to locate specific information:

  1. Locate government websites - state websites should be easy to find, and many cities and counties will have good websites as well. Some of the information you need should be found through these sources online. 
  2. Look for local newspaper websites - particularly useful if your issue is something the city is currently or recently addressed (many of these sites may ask you to pay to access older articles). You can also locate newspaper articles from around the country through these databases: ProQuest Newspapers and Newspaper Source (EBSCO)
  3. Contact a local library - many local libraries will have websites with relevant local information, much like our library does, but calling or emailing a local library can also be helpful - they may have print resources or recommendations that we don't. In particular, if you need older local newspaper articles, most local libraries will have them - of you have issues accessing these, place an Interlibrary Loan Request for us to hep you.

Local Resources/Information

Mercer University Library's Guide to Government Resources - This page provides links out to government information at the federal, state, and local level. 

Macon Telegraph - available from 1826-present in the following formats/locations:

  • Current articles: www.macon.com
  • 1994-present: Macon Telegraph Archive Search - articles from the most recent month are available for free, but otherwise you should use this resource to locate useful articles, and then get the full text via the Washington Memorial Library or Inter-Library Loan.
  • Most recent three months: available in print on the 1st floor
  • 1860-three months ago: available via microfilm at the Washington Memorial Library.
  • 1836-1844 and 1885-2006: available in microfilm, 2nd floor. This resource is partially indexed by topic: the Macon Telegraph Microfilm Index covers 1921-1991. Please ask a librarian for assistance. 
  • 1826-1908: available via the Georgia Historic Newspapers' Macon Telegraph Archive. You will need to install the DjVu plugin (it's free!) to use this resource. 
Atlanta Journal & Constitution - available in Tarver and online for 1868-present in the following formats:
Part 4 - The Seven Steps of the Public Policy Analysis *Database Links*

1 - Define the Problem     2 - Assemble some Evidence     3 - Consider Alternatives     4 - Select the Criteria     5 - Project the Outcome     6 - Confront the Trade-offs     7 - Decide     8 - Tell your Story

In the second step of this process, you will need to incorporate academic research. Below are some recommended databases for this area, but you may also want to look at the main Political Science guide:


Discovery - a broad starting point where you can search multiple databases and the library catalog simultaneously. Under "Advanced Search," try the discipline limit to bring back more relevant results if needed.

JSTOR - provides access to complete back files of core journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. NOTE: JSTOR is primarily useful for locating older articles. This is due to an agreement with publishers where JSTOR typically does not provide full text coverage for the most recent 2 to 5 years, in exchange for complete archival access.

LexisNexis Academic - This is our best database for legal information, but also provides other academic information as well as international, national, and regional newspapers, trade journals, wire services, broadcast transcripts, and government publications.

Research Library (ProQuest) - a general database providing access to scholarly journals and general magazines, many of which are available in full text. 

Web of Science - the name is misleading - this is not just for scientific articles! Provides detailed citations and abstracts for the top scholarly periodicals in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. 

Non-Database Sources

Library Catalog - search for books and ebooks here (or through Discovery- limit to "catalog only").

WorldCat [books and publications owned by libraries worldwide] - locate and request books from anywhere in the world, free of charge. Please be sure to limit to print materials only, as we cannot request ebooks!

Think Tank Search - Technically not academic, but sometimes the reports and articles published by these groups can be very useful! Created by librarians at Harvard Kennedy School, this tool will allow you to search hundreds of think tank websites at one time.

  • 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report - this PDF will help you find the most highly respected think tanks around the world, organized by world-wide ranking, regional ranking, and ranking within an area of research. The methodology and reasoning behind the rankings is included in this report.

C-SPAN Video Archive - Also not academic, but a good source of direct information on many issues. This archive allows you to locate video recordings of a wide variety of hearings, press conferences, and related activities of the United States Congressional bodies.

Citing Sources

Chicago Style Guide from the Purdue Owl - this online guide should cover most of the information you need. If you need additional information, the complete Chicago Manual of Style is available in Tarver Library, at the Circulation Desk. Additionally, the librarians at the Ask Jack desk are happy to help with any citation questions you may have! If you'd like to have a librarian look over your citations, stop by or email them to us at . Be sure to mention what citation style you are using!

You may also be interested in using Zotero to help you keep track of your research throughout the semester, as well as to create your in-text citation footnotes and your Bibliography while writing your Public Policy Analysis. We have a guide on using this tool.

Part 5 - Presenting Your Policy Recommendation

I don't actually have any information you need to know about here, sorry! Best of luck, though :)

Part 6 - Final Version of the Public Policy Analysis 

If you revise your final paper (as I expect many of you will), you may want to refer back to any of the points above. I'm also happy to meet with you one-on-one and discuss how you can improve the research components of your paper, go through citations, etc.