Library databases such as CQ Researcher, Opposing Viewpoints, and the Encyclopedia of Urban Studies can provide summary articles on social problems. Government agencies, research centers, and organizations are good sources of information about social problems and issues. Many of their web sites will feature reports, news items, research studies that provide a glimpse of the problem at the national level. The National Poverty Center (listed below) is one example of this type of resource. See other examples below.
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Evaluating the Sponsor
The "about us" link on most organizational pages is the place to investigate who is responsible for the group and what potential interests, perspectives or conflicts of interest the group may have on the topic. While the .com domain generally signals a profit motive, the .org runs the gamut of self interest to public good. Be sure to examine the goals and viewpoints expressed in these sections of the website in order to determine how objective the information may be.
The following listings categorize think tanks by ideology but their rankings are more tenuous and less transparent. Compare two or more sources to determine whether or not the categorization seems sound.
Search for state agencies and organizations that deal with the problem or issue. Look for "Resources" or "News" sections, which may feature reports profiling the problem. See examples that follow.
Local newspaper coverage is one source for defining the problem at the local level. City agencies or organizations are another. See two examples that follow.
Other suggested strategies: