How to find official publications for your essay or dissertation

Have you ever needed to know what is being said about a major issue in Parliament, or whether a new Bill is about to become law soon? In today’s post, find out how to keep up with Parliamentary information … by Helen Riley

Keeping up to date with Parliamentary information!

Whether you love politicians or hate them, it is useful to keep up to date with what is being said in Parliament, and the reports which are published. The House of Commons and House of Lords debate an enormous range of issues at home and abroad, and the Committees of both Houses scrutinise Bills, prepare reports on controversial issues and hold organisations and companies to account.  The Parliament website is an excellent source of authoritative current information, but it may be very hard to find exactly what you are looking for. The News and Quick Links on the home page are excellent, but using the Search box may drive you mad!

I recommend browsing this website from the links along the top of the page, especially Parliamentary Business. This leads you to Hansard, the Official Report of debates in both Houses, and also reports of Committees and the evidence presented to them.

There is even more than you might expect if you explore the website in more depth, however.  For truly impartial information on controversial Bills and current topics, have a look at the Research Briefings published by research staff in the libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords. They are well hidden within Parliamentary Business, and Research Publications, but they are a good way to keep up to date with legislation and Government policy. Independent experts employed by Parliament provide these briefings for MPs of all parties, so you can trust them to be impartial. They may provide the latest statistics on road accidents or poverty in the UK, discuss serious issues or explain the progress of an important Bill, with links to official documents, debates on the Bill and unofficial comment for and against the measure.

Another tip – if you log on to Public Information Online through the Warwick Library website, you will be able to find Parliamentary publications on any topic more comprehensively than by using Google! This database also provides debates and publications of the Scottish Parliament and the devolved Assemblies of Wales and Northern Ireland. Like most Library databases, this one enables you to search by keyword for documents and reports on any topic without being overwhelmed by too many irrelevant results. It is always good to use the Advanced Search option and filter the search in various ways. For example, you might like to find material within a specific date range, or to specify the material of a particular Parliament or Assembly.


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Cover image: city-urban-transportation-system-3355665 / funky-noodleCC0 1.0

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