Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Some Guidance on Think Tanks
A think tank (also called a policy institute) is an organization, institute, corporation, or group that conducts research and engages in advocacy in public policy. Many think tanks offer neutral, non-partisan research, but most advocate a particular political ideology or agenda, so you need to scrutinize the organization you use as a source. Below are a few tools to help you evaluate:
Citizens' Source provides some useful links to information on government and policy. Take a look at the Opinion & Policy section for listings of think tanks and political journals grouped by political orientation. Also see Issues and The Organizations Which Promote Them to help identify organizations on either side of select policy issues.
TTCSP Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports
The Global Go To Think Tank Index is the result of an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who helped rank more than 6,500 think tanks using a set of 18 criteria developed by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Research Think Tanks (InsideGov)
Use this comparison tool to search for think tanks by political affiliation, areas of research, asset amount, and more.
Finding Think Tank Literature
Index focusing on public affairs, public and social policies and international relations. Probably the best way to search PAIS specifically for think tank publications is to do a keyword or subject search for the policy topic then add the name of the organization that published the material. For example: obamacare AND "heritage foundation"
A project of the Center for Governmental Studies, PolicyArchive is a comprehensive, free digital library of public policy research providing access to thousands of research documents.
Think Tank Search (Harvard Kennedy School of Government)
The Harvard Kennedy School Library & Knowledge Services Think Tank Search is a custom Google search of more than 670 U.S. and non-U.S. think tank websites. This guide also provides a listing of major U.S. and foreign think tanks as well as links to additional resources.
A project of the Foundation Center, IssueLab is an open access repository for knowledge produced by social sector organizations. Works submitted to IssueLab must be published or funded by a social sector organization, foundation, or university-based research center, be free and accessible to the public, be data-driven, and include complete citations and references.
Policy Research Database
Located at Michigan State University, IPPSR is a hub for public policy information and research. You can search by keywords or browse by policy research area.
American Policy Directory
A project of the University of Oregon Libraries, the American Policy Directory seeks to provide access to analysis and advocacy from all perspectives on US national public policy. The site consists of multiple custom Google search engines limited to a select set of organizations that conduct research in specific policy areas.