Resources for Government Information
About this guide
Students will find recommended print and electronic resources for finding, researching, and evaluating government information.
Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of this guide.
Paper Writing Assistance:
Consult these campus resources for help with writing and editing:
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Books and databases accessible through Luria Library are listed here.
If you are mainly interested in statistics, try our research guide on sources of statistical information.
- ERIC: Provides access to education literature and resources, including governmental reports on education policy and legislation.
- GreenFILE: Scholarly, government and general-interest titles covering all aspects of human impact to the environment, including content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more.
- History Reference Center: Primary source material in this database includes treaties, photos, maps and videos. Use the advanced search and select “primary source document” in the “publication type” menu.
- Military & Government Collection: In addition to scholarly articles on government, this database contains primary source materials like reports, speeches, and government publications on a variety of national and international issues.
Government Info on the Web
- CIA World Factbook on all countries
- United Nations
- Europa, the official website of the European Union
- Hathitrust is a shared digital repository for partner institutions around the world. It includes large collections of government records from the U.S. and other participating countries.
Federal and National
- Main website for all branches of the U.S. Federal Government
- Links to and basic information about the governments of all U.S. states and territories
- The Congressional Research Service is a nonpartisan think tank that provides members of Congress with reports on government policy and political issues worldwide. Though not published publicly, these reports are often sent to websites such as Every CRS Report and the Federation of American Scientists, so that the public can access the same information Congress uses to make their decisions.
- The National Security Archive, at George Washington University, collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
State of California
- Home page for all branches of the California State Government
- Links to California counties’ websites
- See UCSB’s guide to local government resources.
Figuring out whether the information you find is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Fortunately there are tools to help you find your way.
SBCC Resources for Evaluating Information
Visit our research guide on Real Vs. Fake News.
Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:
- Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
- Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
- Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
- Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
- Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
- Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?
Websites for Fact Checks and Government Accountability
- FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, is a “‘consumer advocate’ for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.”
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office is an nonpartisan “government watchdog” that works for Congress to audit the federal government’s operations.
- The Center for Responsive Politics hosts OpenSecrets.org, which tracks federal campaign contributions and lobbying data. They are funded by grants and independent contributions.
- PolitiFact is a nonpartisan fact-checking program funded by the Tampa Bay Times, grants, ads, and individual donations. They research claims and rumors found online, in print, and in speeches, and rate how factual or inaccurate these are.
- Both government and private websites can remove or alter their pages and data at any time. Use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which keeps a copy of almost every public webpage since the 1990s, to see how a website’s content changes over time.
Below are some resources for creating citations for sources found on the internet and through library databases. More resources are available on the Citation Guides page.