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There are many thousands of organizations in the U.S. (and internationally) that provide research on public policy issues. Types include:
Government agencies (executive and legislative branches)
Nonprofit research organizations
There is often good information available in reports they produce. Your challenge is to think critically about these sources, identify potential biases, use them to identify additional research, and generally separate the wheat from the chaff.
A Google Custom Search of over 400 "think tank" websites, hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School Library. For the purposes of this search, think tanks are defined as institutions affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity.
Brookings is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Their mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and to provide innovative, practical recommendations that: strengthen American democracy; foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.
A nonpartisan "think tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does so by conducting public opinion polling and social science research; by analyzing news coverage; and by holding forums and briefings. It does not take positions on policy issues.
The Tax Policy Center provides timely, accessible analysis and facts about tax policy to policymakers, journalists, citizens, and researchers. The TPC is a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.
This is the official portal page to all federal government resources available on the Web. Search by topic, or find a relevant federal agency and search on their site. Most major agencies will have extensive research or publications sections on their sites.
This resource is the first place to go when trying to locate statistical information.
It provides tables with statistics in many different areas, and includes links to
original source data to help locate related data. Earlier editions are also available.
Data-Planet allows users to retrieve statistics & data, and create tables, charts, & maps from a variety of sources. Holdings for the United States are significant, with some data available at state, county, or local geographies, including daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual time series varying by metric. International data are at the country level, and include the enhanced China Data Center. Data are organized by subject and source; users can browse by folders or keyword search.
Subject categories include: Banking, Finance, and Insurance; Criminal Justice and Law; Education; Energy Resources and Demand; Food and Agriculture; Government and Politics; Health and Vital Statistics; Housing and Construction; Industry and Commerce; International; Labor and Employment; Natural Resources and Environment; Population and Income; Prices and Cost of Living; Stocks and Commodities; Transportation and Travel. Java must be enabled to use this database.
Use SimplyAnalytics (formerly SimplyMap) to create thematic maps, datasets, and reports using thousands of demographic, business, and marketing data variables for the U.S. Use it when you need demographic and marketing data for a specific geographic area in the U.S. such as a city, county, census tract, or ZIP code. Create a free personal account with your UST email to save your work (check your email spam if you don't receive an activation email) or sign in as a guest. Limited to 5 simultaneous users.
The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library (LRL) information resources that support the legislative process and promote the understanding of state government. See the "Guides" section for a listing of current Minnesota policy issues reports.