IAS 150: Poverty and Social Policy


  • James Church
  • Office Hours: By appointment
  • Office Location: 438 Doe Library
  • Contact Info:

    510 678-7611

About this Guide

This course guide provides examples of library resources, including books, article databases, government information NGOs, and statistics to help students conduct research in the area of poverty and social policy.,

Electronic Resource Finder

The most important research section of the library web site is the Library Electronic Resource Finder. This is the library directory of databases and other information resources, organized by subject (e.g. political science) type (e.g. encyclopedias) as well as other categories. It also contains a link to a comprehensive listing of library e-journals.

Campus Library Map

Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.

UC Berkeley Library campus map

You can also view/download a PDF map of library locations. For library contact information and building addresses, visit our directory.

Catalogs & Search Engines

Find a book that matches your topic and go to the call number range to browse. Check the references and bibliography.

Google Scholar
. Functions as both a key word database for articles and books. It automatically connects to select licensed content held by the UC libraries. 

Google Books. Millions of scanned books worldwide.  Search the text of the books, view previews or "snippets" from books still in copyright, and read the full text of out-of-copyright books.  To read the text of a copyrighted book, use the Find in a Library link to locate the book at UC Berkeley or search OskiCat.

Oskicat. UC Berkeley libraries catalog. Includes records for most UCB library materials, including books, e-books, journal and e-journal titles, films and videos, maps, archival materials, and much more. See also the Quick Guide to Oskicat and Oskicat Tutorial.

. Catalog for all UC Campus libraries, including selected libraries on campus not in Oskicat, e.g. the Boalt Law Library. 

Connecting from Off Campus

You can access UCB Library resources from off campus or via your laptop or other mobile device using one of two simple methods:

Proxy Server
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource. See the setup instructions, FAQ, and Troubleshooting pages to configure your browser.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
After you install and run the VPN "client" software on your computer, you can log in with a CalNet ID to establish a secure connection with the campus network.

Background Sources

Encyclopedia of Social Measurement.  Contains over 350 articleson all aspects of Social Measurement and related social sciences, covering the core theories, methods, and techniques employed by social scientists.

Encyclopedia of Social Work. Co-published by the National Association of Social Workers and Oxford University Press, this is the 20th edition of this key reference work.

International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioural Sciences. The electronic version of the 26 volume IESBS set published in 2001. It contains over 3800 articles spread over 99 subject areas.

Poverty in the United States: An Encyclopedia of History Politcs and Policy. Doe Reference Hall. HC110.P6 P598 2004. 

Poverty and the Government in America : A Historical Encyclopedia. Doe Reference Hall. HC110.P6 P595 2009.

An Atlas of Poverty in America: One Nation Pulling Apart. Doe Reference HC110.P6 G543 2006.

Growing unequal?: Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries. Doe Reference HC79.I5 G775 2008. 

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand!

  1. Zotero: A free plug-in that works exclusively with the Firefox browser: keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service.
  2. RefWorks - free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
  3. EndNote: may be purchased from UC Berkeley's Software Central.

It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.

Article Databases for Poverty Literature

Government Information Databases

  • American Presidency Project. Contains all major publications of the U.S. Office of the President, including: Public Papers of the President, Inaugural Addresses, Executive Orders, Signing Statements, and other information such as radio addresses, party platforms, videos of debates, and popularity polling data. This project was developed by two political science professors at UCSB.
  • CQ Electronic Library. A reference source on American politics and government that includes the following modules: CQ Congress Collection, CQ Political Handbook of the World, CQ Researcher Plus Archive, CQ Supreme Court, CQ Voting and Elections, CQ Washington Information Directory, CQ Weekly. Access individual modules or search across all CQ collections.
  • CQ Supreme Court Collection. Combines historical analysis with updates and commentary of US Supreme Court decisions, biographies of Supreme Court justices, Supreme Court institutional history and the US Constitution. Also includes background and commentary on constitutions from over 100 countries. Part of the CQ Electronic Library collection.
  • CQ WeeklyProvides nonpartisan information about US government and congressional affairs and subjects of concern. This online version also provides access to some articles prior to when they appear in the print version of CQ Weekly. Part of the CQ Electronic Library collection.
  • CQ Researcher Plus Archive. A weekly publication covering the most current and controversial issue stopics. Includes complete summaries and bibliographies. Part of the CQ Electronic Library collection.
  • OECD iLibrary. Full-text publications and statistical data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including country studies, forecasting publications, reports, and socioeconomic datasets and an interactive Health data database. The statistics section includes data in the areas of international trade, telecommunications, foreign aid, migration, and many other categories. Includes data from 1983 to the present.
  • Official California Legislative Information. Official site maintained by the Legislative Counsel of California. Includes Bill information and tracking, California Law (codes and statutes), plus the California State Constitution.
  • ProQuest Congressional. One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text of published Congressional Hearings from 1824-present (unpublished until 1979), full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set (and its various former titles) from 1789-present, and legislative histories from 1970-present.
  • ProQuest Legislative Insight. Provides access to more than 18,000 professionally researched legislative histories of US Law. Histories include the Public Law itself, all versions of related bills, law-specific Congressional Record excerpts, committee hearings, reports and prints, Presidential signing statements, and CRS reports. 1929-present.

US Government Information Web sites

2012 HHS Poverty Guidelines -- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Lays out the two main methods for determining poverty in the U.S. and how each method works

Administration for Children and Families (ACF) -- U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) 

Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships -- U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) -- Promotes the participation of faith-based and community-based organizations as valued and essential partners assisting Americans in need. 

Child Poverty and Family Income -- U.S. Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

HHS.gov -- U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) --

Poverty -- U.S. White House -- Guiding principles and progress in alleviating poverty in the U.S.

Poverty Main -- U.S. Census Bureau -- Statistics and surveys on poverty in America. Includes the most recent Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, annual poverty: statistics from the American Community Survey, and various other Census Bureau publications.

Social Security -- U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) -- Dedicated to delivering Social Security services that meet the changing needs of the public

The Cost of Living and the Geographic Distribution of Poverty -- Dean Jolliffe -- U.S. Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service -- This study suggests that when poverty measures are adjusted to account for cost-of-living differences between metro and nonmetro areas metro poverty is greater than nonmetro poverty in terms of prevalence, depth, and severity

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) -- Includes Poverty and Homelessness.

EU and other European Web Sites

EU Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.  Responsibility for policy in the field of employment, social affairs and inclusion is shared between the EU and its member countries.

European Platform Against Poverty and Social ExclusionOne of seven EU flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Development bank to provide project financing for Easterm Europe and Central Asia.

European Union Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). Humanitarian aid office of the European Union. Site includes lists of publications and decisions. 

European Foundation for the Improvment of Living and Working Conditions. EU body that conducts a number of surveys on employment and social conditions in EU countries. Among its regular surveys are the European Quality of Life Survey, the European Working Conditions Survey and the European Survey on Working Time and Work-Life Balance.

NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs)

The amount of information on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on the Internet is large so locating NGO information by subject or geography can be difficult. The following links and  the NGO search engine below may help. 

NGO Custom Search Engine

This search engine was developed by David Oldenkamp at Indiana University and James Jacobs at Stanford. The site seaches NGOs with Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and other NGO directories on the Internet.

Directory of Development Organizations. Over 47,000 organizations of all kinds listed by region and country. One of the most extensive compilation of NGO country directories.

Idealist.Org. Includes a searchable directory of over 52,000 organizations by name, mission, country of focus, and more.

Non-Governmental Organizations Research Guide (Duke University). Guide enabling users to browse NGOs by issue, region, and affiliation.

. International non-profit organization centered on young people interested in connecting across cultures. Outstanding source of NGO information by country and area of focus. Go to browse organizations.

Geospatial Data

Datamasher. Mashups of government data about states. Helps citizens see how states compare on important issues. Users can combine different data sets in interesting ways and create custom rankings by state.

Gapminder. Non-profit venture promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Access and cross-tabulate 200 statistical time series.  See espcially Gapminder World and this video from co-founder Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes

GeoData@UC Berkeley. UC Berkeley Libraries' geoportal where users can search, preview, display, map, and download geospatial data in a variety of formats.The Earth Sciences & Map Library collects GIS data for areas around the world, with an emphasis on the nine county San Francisco Bay Area and northern California, and makes it available for use on the GIS workstations. Library users can download freely available data to use in their projects. The library also collects licensed GIS data that is accessible by library users who are affiliated with UC Berkeley.

Policy Map. Houses thousands of indicators related to demographics, real estate markets, crime, vacancy, income, education, unemployment, health, mass transit and public investments. Allows users to create customized, data-rich maps on the fly, overlay boundaries like congressional districts, zip codes or census tracts. create unique ranges for an indicator. and overlay data you've uploaded to the site.

SimplyMap. Web-based data analysis and mapping application that allows users to create custom thematic maps, tables and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data for the United States. Includes over 70,000 data variables related to demographics, employment, real estate & housing, crime, businesses, consumer spending, and data from the current and historical US Census.

Social Explorer. Provides access to current and historical United States census data, including all historic decennial censuses and American Community Surveys, as well as other demographic information, such as religious organizations. Census data is current to 2010 and historical back to 1790. In addition to being a data resource, the web interface lets users create maps and reports to better illustrate, analyze and understand demography and social change.

Poverty and Inequality Statistics

Annual Statistical Supplement, 2010. U.S. Social Security Administration. Statistical information about Social Security payouts, Medicare, Medicaid, and other benefits programs.

ChildStats.gov.  Statistics and other information on child poverty.

County-Level Unemployment and Median Household Income. State and county unemployment and median household income.

Data Planet.  Close to comprehensive US statistical database that also includes some international data, e.g. from the World Bank and IMF.  Excellent place to start a browse or seaech.

Eurostat. Publications and statistics from the EU, with data in economics, population, agriculture, trade, transportation, the envornment and much more. See especially the section on income social exclusion and living conditions.

Health Insurance Main.  Includes the most recent Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States report, highlights, and current and historical tables.

Income Main. Includes the most recent Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States report, highlights, and current and historical tables.

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States. Presents data on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the United States based on information collected in the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplements (CPS ASEC).

Local Area Personal Income.  U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Personal income, compensation, employment, and wages. National region, state, MSA, and county statistics from 1969 to latest.

OECD iLibrary. Includes International Development Statistics as well as statistical databases on many other social, educational, health, insurance, pensions, social expenditures and welfare, disability, and much more. 

Poverty Main. Statistics and surveys on poverty in America. Includes the most recent Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, annual poverty: statistics from the American Community Survey, and various other Census Bureau publications.

Statistical Abstract of the United States. National Data Book of the United States, functioning as a comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States as well as selected international data. The Abstract is useful both as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information, in print and on the Web.

World Development Indicators. Time series data from 1960 for 207 countries in the areas of population, labour, education, economics, the environment and much more. The World Bank Data Catalog is a new and amazing listing of additional World Bank and other international data sets.

World Income Inequality Database. Information for over 140 countries on income inequalities at both cross-country and time series levels over the period 1950-98, with a focus on the period since 1980. See also the University of Texas Income Inequality Project.

World's Top Income Database.  Top income share time series over the long-run for more than twenty countries to date, primarily from countries in Europe, North America and Developed Asia.

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Research Advisory Service

Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates

Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).

Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)

This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.

Library Workshop: Research 101

Unsure how to start a paper or research project? Think maybe you could stand to brush up ostudent with laptopn search strategies?

If this sounds familiar, Library Workshop: Research 101 has you covered. This interactive tutorial explores six stages of the research process. You can view it from start to finish, or focus on specific sections as needed:

1: Begin Your Research

Starting strategies from choosing a topic to search keywords.

2: Knowledge Cycle

The publication timeline, scholarly v. popular sources, and differences in academic disciplines.

3: Finding Books

Search for books and other items in OskiCat, Cal's local library catalog.

4: Finding Articles

Locate and access articles in library research databases.

5: Basic Search

Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.

6: Advanced Search

Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.

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