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Public Policy: Organizations

General Resources

Many policy briefs from think tanks, NGOs, and research institutes can be found online. Include the keywords "policy brief" or "policy paper" or "white paper" in your search.

Think Tanks

Think tanks are institutions affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity. 

Example Think Tanks

Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)

Intergovernmental organizations generally consist of representatives of sovereign states pursuing common goals and are established by a formal instrument of agreement. They often publish reports and compile statistics, which are available for free on their web sites, that may be of interest to researchers. Examples of IGOs include NATO, European Union, United Nations, G-8, and the African Union.

Example IGO

Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)

NGOs, or Non-Governmental Organizations, are non-profit organizations working on humanitarian, human rights, and sustainable development issues worldwide.

Example NGOs

Why find organizations when researching?

Scholarly articles are not the only place to find high quality research and analysis. There are organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, that produce original research and reports that you may not find anywhere else. In addition, it may be important to understand the position of influential groups on a topic.

Evaluating Organizations

Being non-profit or even being humanitarian does not mean that an organization does not have a bias in favor or against a certain subject, industry or policy. Just because an organization has a bias does not mean that you would not use information from them.

  • Check the "About" page to understand the mission of the interest group.
  • Do some searching on Google to see what more you can find out.
  • Check to make sure that any research conducted was well done.
  • Look for other groups that may have different positions.
  • Find out who funds the organization. Be aware that some think tanks are run by corporations as a way to generate positive public relations.