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Researching Your Hometown: Social Issues

UML, online and other resources for researching your hometown.

Advocacy Groups, Associations, and Policy Research Organizations

In order to understand a particular social issue in your town it is often important to gather information about the issue at the national level. Use that national information to contrast and compare what is occurring in your town.  

Advocacy groups often put out alerts as legislation is proposed, collect and provide statistics and create their own policy papers on topics of concern. Think tanks and other policy agencies publish reports and assessments.

  •  Annenberg Public Policy Center - The Center conducts and releases research, staging conferences and hosting policy discussions, its scholars have addressed the role of communication in politics, adolescent behavior, child development, health care, civics and mental health, among other important arenas. Use the links under Research Areas.
  • American Enterprise Institute - Institutes stated purpose is "to preserving and strengthening the foundations of freedom--limited government, private enterprise, vital cultural and political institutions, and a strong foreign policy and national defense--through scholarly research, open debate, and publications." Request books through the Virtual Catalog or ILL
  • Institute for Policy Research - an interdisciplinary public policy research institute at Northwestern University. Whose "mission is to stimulate and support excellent social science research on significant public policy issues and to disseminate the findings to students, scholars, policymakers, and the public at large.
  •  Center for Law and Social Policy - "CLASP is a national non-profit organization with expertise in both law and policy affecting the poor." One useful feature of its webpage is a listing (with links) of its recent publications, which cover various issues relating to low-income Americans.
  •  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Another " think-tank working on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- to moderate-income families and individuals. The Center conducts research and analysis to inform public debates over proposed budget & tax policies and to ensure the needs of low-income families and individuals are considered in these debates." Click on AREAS OF RESEARCH in the top pull down menu.
  •  Commonwealth Fund  - "The Commonwealth Fund supports independent research on Health Care issues and provides opinion papers on these topics.
  •  Joint Center for Poverty Research  - A national and interdisciplinary academic research center funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides current research, policy briefs and working papers related to the condition of the poor in the United States.
  •  National Alliance to End Homelessness - This organization is a federation of nonprofit groups dedicated to fighting homelessness. Click on Policy and Legislation to find federal legislation related to homeless issues. Publications/Resources will take you to full-text reports and the Alliance newsletter.
  • Pew Hispanic Center - PHC is a nonpartisan research organization supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Its mission is to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the entire nation. Provides research reports, statistics and other information regarding Hispanics in the United States.
  • Right to Know Network - provides free access to numerous databases, text files, and conferences on the environment. Also a place to find information on the impact of toxic waste on places, people and animals.
  •  Urban Institute - "A nonpartisan economic and social policy research organization." Site provides links to research reports on a wide variety of policy issues. Look in the Research Finder section, then click Find Research by Topic or Issues in Focus to get a topic list leading to specific publications and projects.