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Faculty of Social Sciences

Social Policy Resources at the University of Ulster

Useful Internet Resources

Gateway Sites

General Social Policy Sites Topic Specific Sites Data Archives & Question Banks

Gateway sites:

Subject gateways provide an access point to subject specific information on the Internet.  The information included in subject gateways is normally high quality information which has been evaluated against certain criteria before it is included.

INTUTE Social Sciences


INTUTE is a searchable portal of web resources, collated and evaluated by subject specialists. Either type in a keyword or browse through the subject lists within social sciences. Click on "Social Welfare". You get headings such as Homelessness, Mental Health, as well as a direct link to Social Policy.  Click on Social Welfare and you will find sub-headings with information on articles, databases, journals, organisations, mailing lists etc. 
BUBL BUBL Information Service. Click on Subject Menus to look for Social Welfare, Social Work or chose the Dewey area 360 on the index  for web resources for Social Problems and Services. Alternatively, at the Home page, click on one of the  "A - Z"  options.   Here you can search under headings such as social policy, public administration, social welfare etc.
Social Policy Virtual Library
Now part of the e-library for Global Welfare
The Social Policy Virtual Library at the University of Bath provides access to a variety of web resources of interest to social policy researchers. Updated regularly, it provides links to on-line databases and data sources, sites of major organisations, libraries, research institutes, publications, journals, documents and  other educational material. It also provides access to  information on research opportunities and funding
General Social Policy sites:  



ARK provides access to social and political material on Northern Ireland in order to inform social and political debate in the region and raise the profile of social science research.

It carries out the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, the Young Life and Times Survey, the Kids Life and Times Survey as well as the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey.

Searchable databases of research are available with some links to full text documents.  Databases include the Qualitative Archive on Ageism, ORB (Online Research Bank) and Childrens Online Research Database.

ARK also maintains a number of resources relating to the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland including CAIN, information on the Northern Ireland Elections and the Qualitative Archive on Conflict.

Centre for Policy Studies CPS is an independent centre right think tank which develops and publishes public policy proposals and arranges seminars and lectures on topical policy issues, as part of its mission to influence policy around the world. It also maintains a range of informal contacts with politicians, policymakers, civil servants and the press, in Britain and abroad
DEMOS Demos is "an independent think tank and research institute" whose role is "to help reinvigorate public policy and political thinking and to develop radical solutions to long term problems". The Web site provides free access to the full text of an extensive archive of its current and historical publications from the mid 1990s to the present day. It also has a good links section.
Economic and Social Research Council The UK's leading funding agency for research and training in social and economic issues. The website has recently been re-designed into 6 main profile types, e.g. General Public, Academic etc. To see the general range of publications and briefings, use the General Public tab. For more details information on making applications for research funding  or to see evaluations of current research projects, use the Academic tab.
Institute for Public Policy Research The IPPR is Britain's leading centre-left think tank. Its aim is to promote and contribute to a greater understanding of key social, economic and political questions." The site is covers research into a number of policy areas, e.g. democracy, power & citizenship; housing, international security and human rights, migration & integration etc. The Publications and Reports section gives either executive summaries or full text documents. There is also an Articles section proving the full text of articles written by researchers in a number of different publications.
Internet Resources for Statistics  General resources; British resources; E. U. resources; other countries; international resources.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation  "...the UK's largest independent social research and development charity.  It supports a wide programme of research and development projects in the fields of housing, social care and disability, young people, families, and work, income and social policy".

There are summaries of research findings, and links, to full text documents published by the Foundation..

NISRA - Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency NISRA is "the principal source of official statistics and social research on Northern Ireland's population and socio-economic conditions".
Office for National Statistics The site is organised around major themes including Crime & Justice Health & Care, Social & Welfare and more.
Pamphlet Collection at the LSE A collection of 90,000 pamphlets from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Good for historical research and covers topics such as Poor Law, Welfare State, Housing.
Policy Hub

This government site claims to be 'the first port of call for all concerned with policy making'.  The Hub aims to promote strategic thinking and improve policy making and delivery across government. You can set up email alerts to keep up to date with new developments and reports.

Policy Studies Institute One of Britain's leading research Institutes.  Follow the links section on the page for a useful collection of links to Political Parties and other think thanks such as Fabian Society etc.
Social Policy Digest The Digest aims to provide an easily accessible listing of new developments across the whole social policy field for all those working in UK social policy.  Use the RSS feed option for a great way of keeping up to date.
Social Policy Research Unit Based at the University of York, users can join a mailing list to keep up to date with the latest research findings from the Unit
SWAP Social Policy and Social Work Subject Centre which is part of the Learning and Teaching Support Network

Topic Specific Sites

UK and EU Political Sites Criminal Justice System Housing and Homelessness
Children, Elderly and the Family Equality Poverty and Social Exclusion
Community Conflict Health and Social Services Voluntary Organisations and charities

UK & EU Political Sites

Direct Gov The major UK government database with websites of councils, and government departments.  Contains links to many other websites.
UK Parliament site Excellent site with House of Commons and House of Lords Committee minutes, Hansard, Research and Publications archives, Bill Tracker and factsheets.
Irish Government Web Server  To get social welfare information information click on "Topics" in the left hand menu of the home page and then "social welfare" from the A-Z list to get to the Department of Social Protection.  
Forms and Publications section provides links to many online documents available to download.
Northern Ireland Assembly Access to all the documentation of the Assembly, including the Official Report (Hansard), Committee minutes and reports, Assembly Questions and Legislation (Bills)

In addition, the Northern Ireland Assembly Research & Library Service produces a number of extremely useful Research Publications which cover a variety of topics of interest to Members, Committees and the general public

Northern Ireland Public Web Server  Access to government departments and reports, e.g. the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety.
EC Employment and Social Affairs This website focuses on European Union activities in policy areas such as employment, working conditions, social inclusion and equality
Economic and Social Committee of the European Union The website provides details of the structure, activities and role of the ECOSOC in the European Union.

Children, Elderly & the Family

AgeInfo A service provided by the Centre for Policy on Ageing. It has an information service with links to searchable databases and world wide resources on ageing.
Age UK Age UK (formerly Age Concern and Help the Aged) campaigns on issues like age discrimination and pensions, and works to influence public opinion and government policy about older people.
Barnardo's This site contains many useful full text publications in the Resources section on a variety of topics relating children and young people.
NSPCC Inform NSPCC Inform is a free specialised child protection resource for practitioners, researchers, trainers, policy-makers and other professionals working to protect children. The site contains a range of free downloads of publications and information sheets, statistics, recommended reading lists for a range of child related topics and information on public policy issues relating to child protection.
National Youth Agency  Aims to advance youth work.  Press releases, list of publications, training, conferences, events etc.
Child Poverty Action Group CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of poverty among children and young people in the UK and for the improvement of the lives of low-income families. It provides Welfare Rights information, statistical information, Research and Publications and a good links page.

Community Conflict

CAIN - Conflict Archive on the Internet Renowned University of Ulster based collection of resources on the Northern Ireland conflict and society. See: Key Issues for information on policing, law and order, the administration of justice as well as documents tracing events such as Bloody Sunday and the development of the most recent peace process
Community Relations Unit (part of the Office of the First and Deputy Minister) The Community Relations Unit is part of the Good Relations and Reconciliation Division within the of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. Originally establish in 1987, the Unit's aims are; to increase cross-community contact and co-operation and to encourage mutual respect, understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity.
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998. It Contains publications, some cases, legislation and policy documents covering their role in civil rights and equality in Northern Ireland

Criminal Justice System

Howard League for Penal Reform The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the UK. The Study Centre section gives statistical information and some general information on the penal system and the need for reform.
Criminal Justice System of Northern Ireland, comprising:  Umbrella site linking the 6 major areas of criminal justice provision in Northern Ireland.

Each separate site has links to policy documents, full text publications, advice and further contact information

Ministry of Justice The work of the Ministry of Justices covers criminal, civil and family justice, democracy, rights and the constitution.  Its website includes links to full text policy documents and other Ministry publications.


Equality and Human Rights Commission The Commission (comprising the former the Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunity Commission) aims to work for  a "fairer Britain". The publications section of the site includes downloadable reports and research information.
Equality Commission for Northern Ireland The commission took over the functions previously exercised by the Commission for Racial Equality for Northern Ireland, the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland, the Fair Employment Commission and the Northern Ireland Disability Council. Like the above sites, much of it is available full-text online, including research, guidance and legislation.
Government Equalities Office Deals with issues of equality strategy and legislation. GEO takes the lead on issues relating to women, sexual orientation and transgender equality matters.

Health and Social Services

Department of Health  See 'About Us' for links to the devolved regions and access to Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety for Northern Ireland. Site contains policy documents, statistics, inspection reports and guidance.
Department for Work and Pensions This site contains information on welfare rights, services and pensions. It has full text publications on policy and strategy, research analysis and statistics

Housing and Homelessness

Northern Ireland Housing Executive As well as the specifics of social housing policy in northern Ireland, the site has research documents and statistics on homelessness, rural issues, corporate and strategic plans and equality.
Communities and Local Government This site deals with housing and homelessness, social exclusion, local government and urban policy. All government press releases, consultation documents and green and white papers for these subjects are included, as well as research reports and statistics
University of Ulster - Housing Internet links Lots of useful information on a range of housing and homelessness issues.

Poverty and Social Exclusion

Centre for Analysis of Social exclusion (CASE) Part of the LSE, the core research of CASE is divided between five inter-related strands: economic exclusion and income dynamics; social welfare institutions; family change and civil society; community, area polarisation and regeneration; and exclusion and society. The site contains a range of full text reports, briefing and papers.
Child Poverty Action Group CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of poverty among children and young people in the UK and for the improvement of the lives of low-income families
Welfare Reform on the Web This initiative from the British Library scans and creates a digest for Welfare related topics as they are published and sent to the British Library collections. Welfare Reform Digest aims to help social policy practitioners and researchers to keep up to date with this flood of literature The Digest includes journal articles, reports, newspaper references, books and conference proceedings. The digest began in 1998 and now appears monthly.

Voluntary Organisations and Charities

Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action Umbrella body for voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland. Lots of news information, full-text guidance, links to CommunityNI, the gateway to the NI community sector, with best practice, guidance and other publications.
Citizens Advice Citizens Advice provides help for  people with legal, money and other problems, co-ordinates social policy, media, publicity and parliamentary work and maintains an information and advice website at www.adviceguide.org.uk which receives over 400,000 visits per month. The site contains, facts, figures, and full-text publications.
Charity Choice An encyclopaedia of Charities on the Internet. Extensive searchable listing (with contact details) of charities in the UK
Charity Commission for England and Wales The Charity Commission is established by law as the regulator and registrar for charities in England and Wales. Their site contains guidance on setting up, regulating and managing a charity. Full text publications, Strategic reports and information
National Council for Voluntary Organisations
NCVO represents the views of the voluntary sector to policy makers. They carry out in-depth research to promote a better understanding of the sector and its activities.

Services offered include policy briefings, information networks, events and a wide range of publications, including good practice information.


 Data Archives and Question Banks

CASS - Centre for Applied Social Surveys Provides short courses in survey methods and is developing a survey question bank for Social Scientists.
Survey Question Bank The SQB is aimed at social and economic researchers. It provides access to the questionnaires, in PDF format, from a range of major UK and cross-national social surveys conducted, for the most part, since the mid-1990s.
ARK Access to the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, the Young Life and Times Survey, the Kids Life and Times Survey as well as the Northern Ireland Household Panel Survey.
ECASS - European Centre for Analysis in the Social Sciences
ECASS is located at the University of Essex and is a centre for comparative and longitudinal data analysis
UK Data Archive The largest UK collection of machine readable Social Science Data in the UK.
RCADE Resource Centre for access to Data on Europe
A central collection of statistical data on Europe.  A free academic online database is available to over 2,5000 datasets.  R.cade is also the official disseminator for Eurostat
Office for National Statistics Provides access to general statistics and to Datasets


Contact Details for Social Sciences Library Subject Team
Niall Burns Sub-Librarian +44 (0)28 9036 6970 nd.burns@ulster.ac.uk 
Jane Starrs Coleraine Library +44 (0)28 7032 4158 jm.starrs@ulster.ac.uk 
Joanne Knox Jordanstown Library +44 (0)28 9036 8178 j.knox@ulster.ac.uk 
Janice McQuilkin Magee Library +44 (0)28 7167 5066 j.mcquilkin@ulster.ac.uk 

Return to Social Sciences Faculty Subject Guide