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Government Policy Research

The purpose of this research guide is to help students find information to argue for government policy changes.


What Is Your Research Topic?

You may need to refine your topic from a very broad concern to a narrow one, or possibly reverse. If you're looking at a broad topic, such as gun rights, consider:

  • Who is affected by this issue?
  • What policies have been proposed for this issue?
  • What locations are impacted by this issue?

As a result, you might narrow your topic with results such as:

  • Gun rights and African Americans
  • Open carry laws, gun magazine limit laws, gun purchase waiting periods
  • Gun rights in Texas, gun rights in Harris County

Introductory Articles from Databases

Database Basics

Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video.

How to Use Opposing Viewpoints

When doing research about government policies, at least in the context of the United States, you're participating in a broad conversation across our republic. It's helpful to see what other thoughtful people have said about the government policy you are advocating or opposing. For that task, I recommend exploring Opposing Viewpoints. Its resources include statistics, news stories, scholarly journal articles, and viewpoint arguments on a wide variety of current issues.

In-Depth Articles from Other Databases

How to Search In Depth

Opposing Viewpoints provide sound introductions to controversial issues, but you should dig deeper. These next three databases will help you do so. 

Searching Additional Databases

Academic Search Complete, the Military & Government Collection, and the Legal Collection are databases with with newspaper, magazine, and scholarly journal articles. They are structured the same way, so this video tutorial will show you how to search all three.


How to Search for EBooks

We have two excellent ebook databases. These let you read full-text books online. The interfaces can be confusing, so I have included a tutorial video for each one.

EBSCO EBook Collection


How to Search:


Search this Database:


ProQuest Ebook Central


How to Search:


Search this Database:

MLA Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources

You must cite your sources according to the MLA style of documentation.

This is our video that introduces MLA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper.

This is our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for MLA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.

This is our 2-page handout that summarizes the MLA style. It includes most of the types of sources that students commonly use.

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