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Social Work 258: Social Policy


Welcome to the Library Research Guide for Social Work 258: Social Policy! It includes information and resources designed to aid you in locating research and managing sources for your assignments this semester.

Email me at or schedule a research consultation if you have any questions!

Researching Social Policies

What is a social policy?
(for the purposes of this class)


Legislation (national or state) passed between 2010 and 2020;


Court decisions (state supreme, U.S. Supreme or federal district) between 2010 and 2020; or


Executive orders (U.S. President) issued under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, or Joseph R. Biden.


Each policy must address a social problem that affects the well-being of women, people who are poor, persons of color, rural residents, people who identify as GLBTQIA+, immigrants or refugees, people with disabilities, elders, or those whose intersectional identities make them particularly central to the policy goals.

Useful Terminology

A bill is a proposed law before it is passed. Federal bills originating in the House of Representatives have H.R. numbers. Federal bills originating in the Senate have S. numbers. These do not count as a policy for this class.


A hearing is a formal event where people testify about how the law should be written, what it should cover, etc.  Hearings also do not count as policies, but can provide useful context to find interested organizations, etc.


A code is a "systematic collection" of "laws, rules, or regulations" (Black's Law Dictionary, p. 292). The Code of Laws of the United States of America (commonly referred to as the U.S. Code) is the compilation of all U.S. federal laws organized by subject matter.