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Research Guides

Public Policy and Governance

Welcome to research in Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto Libraries. This guide describes selected online and print reference resources.

How to use the catalogue

This section provides tips and hints on using the library's catalogue effectively.

For additional information, please see Effective Searching.

Find books

Use the Library Catalogue at the start of your research. Books will give you an overview of your topic. They will also have bibliographies that can lead to other sources.

Start by doing a simple keyword search. Using the drop down box, you may wish to limit your search to the following categories:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Subject

How can I further limit my search results?

Along the left hand column, under the heading 'refine results', you can limit your search to subject, geography, publication year, or call number range.

What is a subject search?

A subject search is based on pre-defined, and controlled vocabulary assigned to describe the catalogue's content.  A subject search is less flexible, as users must know the exact vocabulary assigned to their topic.  However, the results are often very specific and relevant to the topic. 

The library includes subject headings for most catalogue entries.  Users who find an interesting title using a keyword search might find it useful to note the subject heading assigned to that book, as it will reveal other useful titles.

What are some key subject headings for public policy and governance?

  • Policy Sciences [this is the major heading used for general books on public policy management]
  • Economic Policy
  • Government Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Health Policy
  • Medical Policy
  • Social Policy


For some subject areas, use the sub-heading to refine results:

Example: government policy

  • Air pollution government policy
  • Homosexuals government policy
  • Sustainable development government policy


For other topics use the following pattern of  heading to refine results:

Example: topic and state 

  • Religion and state
  • Science and state
  • Technology and state


For specific geographic information, include the country, province/state/territory, or region to refine results:

  • Language Policy Canada
  • Nuclear power plants Environmental aspects Ontario
  • Social policy Latin America
  • Genetically modified foods government policy United States