Monday 5 September 2011

Sources For Courses: House of Commons Parliamentary Papers

Whether you’re studying Politics, Law, History, or are simply curious about the inner workings of Parliament, you’ll find a wealth of information to fuel your research at the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers database (HCPP).

Free to all Aberystwyth University students and staff, HCPP provides users with an extensive database of Parliamentary Papers, spanning from 2004 all the way back to 1688. You’ll find documents that have shaped the way Britain is governed, including bills that have been discussed in both the Houses of Commons and Lords before being made into legislation.

The database holds three main types of Parliamentary Paper:
  • Bills - drafts of legislation, to be reviewed through various parliamentary stages. If the Bill passes through these stages, it will become an Act of Parliament.
  • House Papers - documents resulting from the work of the House and its Committees.
  • Command Papers - Government papers (from Ministers) conveying information or decisions the Government wishes to draw to the attention of the House, presented ‘by Command of Her Majesty’.
Let’s see an example. Say we were researching the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 – a historic bill that finally gave equal voting rights to men and women. As we know the name of the act, we can type it in to the Paper title box. If we just want the bill that was passed, we select only Bills from the Limit to menu.

The search returns the one result we were looking for, and we can click on Full text button to read the bill in full.

The full text is displayed and we can navigate using the page number links.

Some Hints and Tips:
  • As the collection is so extensive, it will save you a lot of time if you refine your search as much as you can using the Limit to menu.
  • You can also specify the years that you want the results to be taken from. This is especially handy if you are searching for a fairly broad subject such as taxation.
  • Citations can be exported directly to EndNote and other referencing applications by clicking Download in the Full Record page.
  • You can also save pages for later viewing by clicking ‘Save in My Archive’. You’ll need to create an account to do this.
If you are working off campus, remember to sign into Primo and use the login via your home organisation link on the HCPP site to ensure you are authenticated.

If you have any questions or comments, or would like to arrange training or a refresher for online resources at Aberystwyth University, please contact:

Academic Services
01970 621896

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