Discussion Question - Feasibility Resources

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Have you discovered any helpful resources regarding political feasibility analysis or researching historical legislation in general that you'd like to share?

8 Comments

The U’s library website has a really helpful compendium of their political resources: https://www.lib.umn.edu/subjects/rqs/175

You can find pretty much anything on there. And if you can't find what you're looking for, the subject librarian listed at the top (Mary Schoenborn) is also available for questions.

In my undergraduate public policy course we had to chose a policy and analyze its history, political environment, and latent opportunities. I remember one source that was really helpful for me was the Congressional Research Quarterly. It is a periodical that reports on current national debates. My topic was Don't Ask Don't Tell, so this allowed me to read articles that were published in the early 90s and get a feel for what the political environment was at the time. I photocopied the actual articles but it looks like there is an online database at http://library.cqpress.com.

There are a couple of resources in particular regarding feasibility that I found very helpful while writing political analyses last semester on the topic of bullying against actual and/or perceived members of the GLBT community in K-12 schools. The first is a book by Frances C. Fowler titled Policy Studies for Education Leaders: An introduction. Fowler offers another framework, in addition to the Delphi method discussed in Dror, for analyzing political feasibility called the PRINCE analysis. “PRINCE” is an acronym for steps in the process of this framework which include probe, interact, calculate, and execute. The second resource is a book titled Policy Analysis for Education Leaders: A step-by-step approach by Nicola A. Alexander, who happens to be a professor at the University of Minnesota. Alexander provides an elaboration and user-friendly breakdown of the PRINCE analysis as proposed by Fowler.

During my Undergraduate internship I worked closely with constituents as a Congressional Constituent Service Representative. One of the main resources we were given to track current legislation was THOMAS. THOMAS is a branch of the Library of Congress, and really is terrific for finding out what exactly is going on right now in Washington. The only limit to this source is the timeframe for which it provides information on legislation, only going back to 1989 or so. Still, for anyone looking to keep up with current events or create a measuring stick of political feasibility to the past, it could be helpful. Here is the link:
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php

Very similar to THOMAS, govtrack.us has good information about voter records, reauthorizations, and every bill in Congress since 1973. I used this website to see the number of bills introduced and percent of bills passed this last session compared to previous sessions. There are some other interesting statistics on there as well.

http://www.govtrack.us/

I agree Andrew. The University of Minnesota has quite an expansive database that covers a wide multitude of sources. In addition, the basement of Wilson Library holds the government publications section where you can find a multitude of government documents and resources related to the institution and its politics.

The House Ways and Means Committee's Green Book is a useful primer on many common social programs (e.g. social security) - you can access it at http://greenbook.waysandmeans.house.gov/2012-green-book.

One site I've used in the past is the good 'ol Federal Register. This site has daily releases of EVERY sort from the federal government: https://www.federalregister.gov/. Where it's different than the past is that you can sort posts by issue, like the environment, money, science and technology, etc from the main page-- as well as Department, timeframe, policy type,--pretty much every way imaginable it can be sorted. It may not be a good place to start (it's not) but it can help you find nitty-gritty details on issues that were not exciting enough to have papers or articles written about them as well as pique your curiosity and lead you down a more helpful path.

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