Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Political Science: Course Guide: PLSC 325 (Dr. Maxey)

Finding Policy Sources: Think Tanks

Think tanks are public policy research analysis and engagement organizations that generate policy orientated research, analysis, and advice and international issues, thereby enabling policy makers and the public to make informed decisions about public policy.

Think tanks often provide valuable and impartial policy research and information; however, think tanks can be susceptible to biases and outside influences which raise questions about their independence and integrity.  While not affiliated explicitly with a political party, think tanks may have a particular orientation or political leaning around policy issues.

Evaluating and Assessing Think Tanks

The following resources may be helpful in evaluating and assessing think tanks.

Writing about think tanks and using their research: a cautionary tip sheet: An article from Journalist's Resource. Provides helpful tips about the critical questions to ask when drawing upon think tank research.

Global Go Think Tank Index: The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) works with leading scholars and practitioners from think tanks and universities in a variety of collaborative efforts and programs, and produces the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index that ranks the world’s leading think tanks in a variety of categories. This is achieved with the help of a panel of over 1,900 peer institutions and experts from the print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions, and governments around the world.

Searching Think Tanks

Think Tank Search, maintained by Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Think Tank Search is a Google Custom Search of more than 700 think tanks and research centers.

Think Tank Websites: You can also search the websites of relevant think tanks.

 

Finding Policy Sources: Government Documents

Finding Policy Sources: Public Opinion Polls

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research iPOLL: The Roper Center's iPoll is the most comprehensive, up-to-date source for US nationwide public opinion available today. A full-text retrieval system, the iPOLL online database is organized at the question-level. The system allows for users to sift through over 700,000 questions archived from national public opinion surveys since 1935. The database is updated daily.

Citing Roper Poll Data

Finding Policy Sources: Journalistic Sources

Finding credible and reliable news sources

The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics outlines the values and practices contributing to reliable journalism. The Code of Ethics is organized around four topics.

  • Seek Truth and Report It: Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
  • Be Accountable and Transparent: Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.
  • Minimize harm: Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.
  • Act Independently: The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.

IFLA How To Spot Fake News: The International Federation of Library Associations has a helpful guide and graphic for spotting fake news.

 

American Press Institute: Six Questions That Will Tell You What Media To Trust

1. Type: What type of content is this?

2. Source: Who and what are the sources cited and why should I believe them?

3. Evidence: What's the evidence and how was it vetted?

4. Interpretation: Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence?

5. Completeness: What's missing?

6. Knowledge: Am I learning every day what I need?

Finding Journalistic Sources in the Libraries

New York Times​​: Website, NY Times 1980-current, NY Times 1851-2009

Washington Post

Wall Street Journal: You will be prompted to create an account before accessing the paper.

News and Current Events Research Guide

 
 
 
 
 

Academic Sources

Worldwide Political Science AbstractsProvides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the international serials literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration / policy.

Political Science Databases Guide: Comprehensive guide to political science databases available through the Loyola University Libraries.