By Heather Cameron
With the wealth of information available these days, it’s no wonder we hear the term information overload more and more. Whatever topic you are looking for information on, it can be difficult to find sources you you can rely on, with internet searches retrieving a lot of unreliable material. This is where services such as ours can be invaluable.
Helping you with information overload
The Idox Information Service database contains over 200,000 items with around 200 new items added every week, covering all aspects of public and social policy.
The material consists of research reports, articles from academic journals and industry magazines, policy, guidance, evaluations, case studies, good practice and grey literature. All are chosen and summarised by our research team, so you know that you are accessing reliable resources, many of which are not freely available on the internet.
Breadth of coverage
Popular searches recently carried out by our members have included the following topics, which demonstrate the breadth of our coverage:
- Theories in social work
- Child exploitation
- Anti-discriminatory practice in social work
- Neighbourhood planning
- Place-based approaches
- City deals
- Smart cities
- Wellbeing and work
- Planning for social inclusion
- Wind farms and their impact
- Green economy
- Widening access to higher education
- Joint working between universities and business
- Social media
- Marketing and branding
- Performance management
- Food banks
Our database has a wide range of material covering various aspects of these topics, including recently published work that keeps our members up-to-date.
Members searching on any of these topics can be reassured that the latest research and commentary is included, as the database is updated daily.
For example, for the search on placed-based approaches, a recent article from Regions, The meta-approach to regional development: a re-appraisal of place-based thinking looks at the thinking which informs the practice of place-based approaches to local and regional development.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ recent report on whether worker well-being affects workplace performance could be of particular relevance for the search on well-being and work, as could Public Health England’s report on workplace interventions to improve health and well-being.
With all the media coverage around child exploitation cases in recent times, it’s not surprising that our members continue to search for recent information and good practice in this area. One of the most recent items on child exploitation we have added highlights lessons from Oxfordshire, where the council’s reputation has been raised to one of national exemplar in tackling child exploitation.
Searching on joint working between universities and businesses would reveal promising practice of employer-education engagement across London and the South East in a recent report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), as part of a study examining how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-businesses in particular work together with secondary schools and colleges. In addition, a recent UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) report on university and employer collaboration outlines the ways in which universities and employers can form collaborative partnerships to develop higher level skills.
Of course, some of these topics will inevitably retrieve a lot of results, so using our advanced search option can help to narrow things down. For example, searching for “neighbourhood planning” in the title field will return 86 results compared to 277 results when searching in all fields:
In comparison, searching for “neighbourhood planning” on Google returns rather more with around 260,000 results. I think it would be fair to say that it may take a long time to find the quality information required if you had to sift through all these!
Members of the Idox Information Service can conduct their own database searches, or can request a search by one of our Research Officers.