How do I go about identifying a piece of legislation on a given topic?
There is no single way to identify legislation related to a particular topic. You may wish to consult the Encyclopedia of Social Work since the chapters concerning various topics frequently mention recent legislation in that area. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) publishs background reports on major legislation. Search for relevant CRS reports in the Homeland Security Digital Library. The Contemporary World Issues series also publishes topic-specific handbooks on various social issues, which include reviews of recent legislation on their given topic. Another good option is to review the web sites of advocacy groups for a particular issue. For example, the Children’s Defense Fund site includes sections on recent legislation. Keep in mind the fact that advocacy groups will likely interpret legislation in a manner that supports their position. This is, of course, what advocacy groups are supposed to do, but you need to be aware of this when interpreting information from these sites. Finally, remember that many of your social work professors are specialists in a particular area such as aging, criminal justice, or mental health. Consider talking with them about legislation on a particular topic.
How do I find the text of a bill or law concerning my policy issue?
Search ProQuest Congressional or Congress.gov. Both sources allow you to search for the full text of legislation going back to the 100th or 101st (1988 or 1989-90) Congress. You may also search the text of public laws – those bills that have already been passed into law.
Printed copies of legislation and legislative information may be found in Anschutz Library, which contains KU’s Government Information collection. KU is a federal depository for government publications and maintains extensive collections of these publications.
How do I determine the reaction to a policy, learn whom it has affected, and other background issues?
How do I learn about current action related to my bill?
How do I find the NASW’s perspective on a particular issue?
Consult Social Work Speaks: NASW Policy Statements. The most recent edition is shelved in Watson Reference. HV 85 .N33a