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Social Work Policy Sources

Evaluating information from the Think Tanks & Policy Groups

What are think tanks and policy groups and what should we consider in evaluating the information they produce?  

These organizations are founded to perform research that sheds new light on various cultural, political, economic, or social problems. When encountering their research, you'll want to consider:

Bias: Some organizations go beyond research and formally promote particular policy changes. Look at the organization's mission statement to see if it states having a bias (often progressive or conservative). Also, consider that most think tanks and policy groups are funded by governments, advocacy groups, or businesses. Some organizations might be under pressure to publish research that supports the best interests of the groups that fund them. Look to see which groups fund the organization and think about how they could bias its research.

Authority: Authors from think tanks and policy groups may have a doctorate, medical, or law degree... or they may have a college degree, so authority of the authors varies. Always check the author's credentials when evaluating information.

Reproducibility: When you're examining a report or study, try to find other resources that confirm or refute its conclusions. This will help you determine the value of the conclusions and whether/how you wish to include them in your research.

Think Tanks & Policy Groups

Adam Smith Institute is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan think tank which works to promote libertarian and free market ideas through research, publishing, media commentary, and educational programs.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) works in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

American Hospital Association (AHA) is the national organization that represents and serves all types of hospitals, health care networks, and their patients and communities.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state, and federal levels.

Cato Institute is an independent, nonpartisan public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

Center for National Policy is an independent think tank dedicated to advancing human rights, democracy, and the economic and national security of the United States. 

Center for Public Integrity is a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization which seeks to reveal abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions.

Center for Responsive Politics is a nonpartisan, independent, and nonprofit organization which tracks money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy.

Civitas seeks to facilitate informed public debate and improve the quality of public knowledge.

Committee for Economic Development (CED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led, public policy organization that analyzes and proposes solutions to critical issues nation-wide.

Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank and researches how economic policies include the needs of low- and middle-income workers.  

Fraser Institute is an independent non-partisan research and educational organization based in Canada.  It investigates issues including taxation, government spending, health care, school performance, and trade.

Hoover Institution organizes task forces and carries out research with the purpose of limiting government intrusion into the lives of individuals.

Institute for Policy Studies is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and around the world.

Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, private operating foundation that runs its own research on the major health care issues facing the U.S., as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. 

National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Statistics recommends policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It is committed to market economies backed by democratic institutions and focused on the wellbeing of all citizens.

RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. It focuses on areas including health, education, international affairs, the environment, and more. RAND can also formulate policy recommendations.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about issues shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, and media content analysis. Pew Research does not take policy positions. 

World Economic Forum's Human Capital Report studies how countries establish workforces that are globally competitive.