Think Tanks, Policy Institutes, Research Institutes
Five U.S. think tanks, five U.S. policy institutes, and five U.S. research institutes have been added to the three tabs of the attached spreadsheet. Below is my methodology and summary of findings.
As the instructions for selecting the think tanks, policy institutes, and research institutes did not provide a metric for determining the "best" or "top" organizations, I focused on several main criteria for identifying those organizations that would make the spreadsheet. To begin with, I included the organizations provided in the instructions, so the Heritage Foundation and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) automatically made the "Think Tanks" tab, while the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) automatically made the "Policy Institutes" tab.
The think tanks were chosen first based on size (according to website traffic reported on BestSchools' "The 50 Most Influential Think Tanks in the United States") and then on political affiliation. To provide a range of political orientations, I only included the smallest independent, liberal, and Libertarian organizations. The conservative and nonpartisan organizations were provided in the instructions.
The policy institutes were selected based on founding year and diverse areas of focus. The size of these organizations was not readily apparent on websites, media mentions, or industry reports. Therefore, I attempted to only include the newest policy institutes, which have all been founded since 2000, except for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI was founded in 1938, but was included because it was mentioned in the instructions. The five institutes all have different areas of focus in addition to four of them being newer organizations.
I struggled to find newer research institutes, as most appear to be affiliated with universities and are decades old. In addition, the size of the organizations were not apparent on websites, media mentions, or industry reports. As such, the five research institutes were all founded well before 2000, but because they represent a range of research areas that are significant departures from the areas of focus of larger research institutes, I elected to include them on the list.
Please note that much of the organizations' missions and goals are quoted verbatim on the spreadsheet in order to provide an accurate depiction of their focus and vision.
The following U.S. think tanks have been entered on the "Think Tanks" tab of the attached spreadsheet:
Political Orientation: Conservative
Website traffic: 279,000 monthly visitors
Political Orientation: Nonpartisan
Website traffic: 147,000 monthly visitors
Political Orientation: Libertarian
Website traffic: 4,900 monthly visitors
Political Orientation: Liberal
Website traffic: 2,400 monthly visitors
Political Orientation: Independent
Website traffic: 740 monthly visitors
Area of Focus: Human rights
Area of Focus: Migration
Area of Focus: Education
Area of Focus: Societal issues
Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute
Area of Focus: Health
Area of focus: Agriculture
Area of focus: Oceanography
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Area of focus: Employment
Penn State Materials Research Institute
Area of focus: Multidisciplinary technology
Area of focus: Electric power
The mission statement and goals for 15 U.S. think tanks, policy institutes, and research institutes have been entered on the attached spreadsheet.