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Government Documents and Research: Finding Government Reports

Guide to Government documents in Osterlin library and online.

Congressional Research Service Reports

Congressional Research Service is the U.S. Congressional think tank which produces reports on any topic under consideration by Congress. These reports are:

  • Hard to obtain. They are not made available to members of the public by CRS, except in certain circumstances.

  • Objective reports produced for committees in congress to analyze issues.

  • Widely regarded as in depth, accurate, objective, and timely.

  • Excellent resources for legislative or public policy research.

Finding CRS Reports

There are a variety of institutions, organizations and websites that are publishing CRS Reports.  Try the links listed below.

Government Accountability Office Reports

The GAO is a government agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for the United States Congress. The are the "Watch Dog" of federal government.  GAO reports are:

  • Easily available
  • Objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced
  • Tend to be longer, more indepth and more critical than CRS reports.  
  • Full of useful charts and statistics.  

  • Might be one particular aspect of a policy/law.  

  • Makes a recommendation regarding the policy.

GOA Search

Congressional Budget Office

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides Congress with nonpartisan analysis for economic and budget decisions and with estimates required for the Congressional budget process.

Using Google: GAO Reports

Use this Google Search box to find GAO reports.  Add keywords to the existing search string.


Using Google: CRS Reports

Use this Google search box to find CRS reports.  Add your keywords to the existing search string.