Skip to Main Content

POLI_SCI_390: Applied Policy Analysis (Suiseeya)

Evaluating Data

  • Is the data from a reputable source, with a track record of reliability?
  • Is the methodology, analysis method or data collection method appropriate and aligned with field standards?  
  • Is the sample size appropriate?  Are there missing values or inconsistencies?

Evaluating Think Tanks

Think tanks are research institutes or organizations that conduct research to advocate solutions to social problems.  They may be:

  • Non-partisan  (NBER, Rand Corporation)
  • Centrist  (Brookings Institute, PEW Research)
  • Liberal  (Center for American Progress, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
  • Conservative  (Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation)

Non-partisan is not synonymous with non-biased, however.  And bias is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to be aware of it.

Consider the following:

  • Check for an "about us" page.  Who writes for this organization.  Look for further info about authors.
  • What topics do they cover?
  • Is the purpose to share info or influence?
  • Is more than one side/perspective covered?
  • How is the organization funded?

Further information: