Controlled vocabulary, like the Library of Congress subject headings, is used by libraries to organize books for retrieval. Basically they identify what the book is about. The following is a list of Library of Congress subject headings that will help you explore books in the Libraries' collection. I have hyperlinked some of the more relevant ones here so that you can browse instantly, if you wish.
Library tip: Most academic libraries employ Library of Congress subject headings for cataloguing and organizing information, so you can use these to search just about any library catalogue.
Here's a screenshot of how these subject heading searches display, using the Equality Government policy Canada example:
To find literature related to gender and public policy, start your search query with those terms, then add additional keywords to your search string to focus on particular aspects.
gender AND "public policy" AND [enter additional search terms to identify what aspect of gender you’re interested in]
gender AND "public policy"
gender AND "public policy" AND theory
gender AND "public policy" AND canada [you can add a geographic term to your search to focus on a country, for example]
gender AND policy issues [try other phrases that might express policy topics]
Keyword searching works the same whether you're searching the Internet using a search engine, or a research database for articles, or the Libraries' book catalogue. Some searches may work better than others, so it's a good idea to try a few different searches, and it's a good idea to search a few places. Think of the terminology or language used by the authors of your course readings -- this will give you clues around which search terms to use.
Some "best bets" for public policy content are listed on this page.
Here is an example of an actual search run in the Women's Studies International database to give you a sense of how you would run your own search. It also shows how many of our databases will rank your results -- usually the default is by relevance.