Skip to Main Content

Social Welfare Policy and Services I (19:910:504)

A research guide for SWPS1 assignments


Think Tanks- " imprecise phrase used to describe a wide range of non-profit research organizations which engage in public policy analysis and research, and may/often advocate solutions." ( Lehman Social Sciences Library, Columbia University).  Examples include Urban Institute, Brookings Institute, etc. See next definition as well.

Other Related Terms: Research Institutes, Policy Research Institutes, Foundations-organizations where staff conduct economic and social policy research that is "non-partisan," i.e., not politically affiliated.  However, this does not mean the organization does not have a perspective on the issues, but it may be less directly aimed at getting a specific legislative or regulatory result.  Foundations may also fund the research of others, e.g., Commonwealth Fund. And, there are research institutes affiliated with universities.

Interest Groups, Advocacy Groups-a collection of individuals who seek joint ends through political action and tend to have narrow goals focused around an issue or issue area.  These can be: private groups, sponsored by corporations, private industry; non-profit or citizens groups, e.g., AARP, Children's Defense Fund; labor groups.  The organizations may conduct research or use others research to support position, provide policy briefings, etc.

Bottom Line:  Make sure you read the "about us" or mission statements of the organizations to understand what you are seeing! Context is important!


American Policy Directory think tanks, advocacy groups, by topic.

Policy File Index  This is a collection of public policy research reports from over 350 think tanks, nongovernmental organizations, research institutes, university centers, and advocacy groups

Interest/Advocacy Groups


© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.