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Define and Understand the Problem or Policy
Encyclopedias and policy papers can help you define and and understand the problem you are trying to solve or the policy you are trying it analyze. They can give a short history of past and present policy, which can help you put the issue in context.
Research Reports and Policy Papers
These may not give specific information for specific counties, but can provide information on the broader issues.
CQ Researcher plus Archive
Unbiased research reports on timely topics, for example:Health Care Reform
, Immigration Conflict
and Legalizing Marijuana
. Each report provide a introduction, overview, background, current situation, outlook chronology, pro/con/, biblipgraphy, etc. Keyword search for additional reports, reports also show links to other relevant reports.
CRS Reports. 1916-2003
A "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Congressional Research Service (CRS) is the public policy research arm of Congress.
Comprehensive digital library of public policy research containing over 30,000 documents.
Policy File Index This link opens in a new window
Access to reports and information produced by prominent policy institutes, "think tank" and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Database Guide
Nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that matter most such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. With a research staff consisting of some of the world's preeminent minds, RAND has been expanding the boundaries of human knowledge for more than 60 years.
State Policy Network
State Policy Network is made up of free market think tanks - at least one in every state - fighting to limit government and advance market-friendly public policy at the state and local levels.
Pew Center on the States
Provides nonpartisan reporting and research, advocacy, and technical assistance to help states deliver better results and achieve long-term fiscal health by investing in programs that provide the strongest returns.
Manuals and Blue Books
Comprehensive guide to Pennsylvania's government. It includes Pennsylvania history, the constitution, and elections. It profiles the executive, judicial, and legislative branches including information on the powers, functions, and duties of those offices. Published biennially by the Bureau of Publications.
Print: vol. 1949-2001 available by request from Offsite
State Blue Books
An almanac or other compilation of statistics and information.