News sources can be a great way to find information about federal and state social and educational policies. There are numerous sources of fulltext news, some available freely on the web. The ones below are all databases that we pay for, they each have specialized features.
Over 6,000 individual titles of international, national and local newspapers and wire services.
Ethnic News Watch
Over 200 ethnic, minority, and native press publications -- a great way to uncover information that may not appear in the mainstream press.
Newspapers, magazines, academic journals, and more that focus on gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas.
General and business news and information from more than 9,000 sources.Includes The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press.
New York Times (1999-present), Los Angeles Times (1985-present), Wall Street Journal (1982-present).
This definition of social policy from the Dictionary of Sociology, may help clarify what a policy is, and how it's different from a plan or a program that implements a policy.
The Green Book (in progress) is a FANTASTIC resource for federal programs. It provides updated statistics and information on programs such as Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Foster Care and welfare. Additionally, it includes a discussion of related issues, such as the well-being of the elderly and of children and families. (If the program you're interested in hasn't been updated yet, you can also try the 2004 Green Book.)
LexisNexis Congressional contains congressional documents (hearings, committee prints, documents, and legislative histories) which are searchable through this fulltext database.
Polisphere a very helpful custom search engine -- lets you search the web for policy related issues, and you can refine your search by limiting it to policy organizations, or federal, state, or local government.
LexisNexis Government Periodicals Index Indexes over 170 periodicals published by agencies of the US Government.
Lexis Nexis Tips
- Use truncation (wildcard) to search different forms of the word (child* retrieves child, child's, children)
- Use 'proximity connectors' -- w/[number], for example (youth or adolescent or teen*) w/25 homeless*. (You can also use w/s for within sentence, or w/p for within paragraph but you can't also combine these with number of words.
- Change the display to Expanded List -- shows you your search terms, plus a few words on either side.
- Change display to Relevance if it is on Chronological (if date is really important to you, restrict to the date range you want in the search box).