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Looking for scintillating studies?

In the early years of our marriage, a favorite activity was clipping magazines to find interesting story ideas. We carried our own clip kits, including staplers, X-Acto knives, pens, paperclips, etc. 

At one point, we fell so far behind that we invited our friends to a help-us-clip party – our version of an old-fashioned quilting bee.

Finding fascinating articles, studies, reports, commentary, surveys, etc., has gotten a lot easier since then, thanks to the Internet. But we scour dozens of state, local, university, organization and foundation websites each week to find new ideas and insights to write about.

We treasure other organizations’ compilations of studies, particularly when the organizations are unbiased and selective. It helps us make sure that each week we see some of the best of the hundreds of reports that are published about state and local government problems, policies and programs.

Today, we wanted to bring to your attention two of our favorite weekly study summaries. One comes from Florida and the other from California. Although researchers for each will sometimes focus on studies relevant to their own state, the selections gathered each week are often of general interest and just as relevant to other states, and often local governments, as well.

Our two recommendations:

PolicyNotes from the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability in Florida. This comes out on Fridays. Typically, there will be summaries of a few studies each in criminal justice, education, government operations and health and human services. As a sample, the March 10 version included OPPAGA’s own report about the declining number of young people in Florida currently being tried in adult courts; a report from the Midwest Regional Education Laboratory about the difference in educational expectations for rural and non-rural 10th grade students, and an Urban Institute study about past-due medical debt.

There is often a lag in getting the newest version into the archive. For timely access to PolicyNotes, you also can subscribe.

Studies in the News is published by the California State Library. It comes out on Wednesdays. Topics covered each week vary slightly, but generally include education, “culture and democracy,” the economy, health, general government, transportation and several other areas of state policy. The most recent version, dated March 8, includes study summaries about the effect of job change on the timing of retirement for older adults, from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College; a look at regional differences in child poverty in California from the Public Policy Institute of California, and the impact of student debt on young people returning to live with their parents from the Sociology of Education Journal.

Note: We will periodically provide reading recommendations in this space, including books, websites, blogs, reports, and other generally useful compilations of materials. We also welcome suggestions from readers (particularly those that aren’t self-promotional).


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