The most important thing is that you pick a topic you want to spend the entire semester exploring!
Search for news stories about general public policy and see what specific examples they link to in the stories.
Check a few think tanks to see what policies they have been analyzing recently.
Congressional Research Service reports can provide overviews of recent policies worth studying.
Oftentimes, this will mean finding the original regulation or legislation, although it could mean tracking down a memo or official announcement of some kind.
Depending on the policy you select, you may need to refine your scope so you aren't stuck trying to cover too much. Analyzing the entire American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 won't really work for this assignment, for example, but focusing on the legislation's emergency rental assistance provisions is more doable.
Use Boolean operators to connect search terms and expand or limit your searches.
Put quotation marks around words to perform a phrase search that will only retrieve results that contain the exact phrase somewhere in the text or in the metadata.
housing crisis will retrieve more results than "housing crisis" but will also contain results where the two search terms are not in close proximity to each other
Truncate search terms by using a wildcard symbol like the asterisk (*) to find similar or related terms easily.
For example, a search for educat* will return results that contain education, educational, educate, educated, educators, etc.
Google site searches help you eliminate noise from your Google searches by only retrieving results from a particular website or top-level domain.
A Google search for site:epa.gov "renewable energy" will only show hits that appear on the Environmental Protection Agency's website
Zotero is citation-management software that exists to make your life easier. If you're interested in setting it up and seeing how it works, here is what you need to do: