Advocacy and analysisPosted: January 10, 2012
Think tanks do two main things: analysis and advocacy. Some think tanks over-emphasise advocacy – which means analysis suffers.
Policy analysis is the art (it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, claim to be a science) of identifying possible solutions to problems. The most vocal think tanks often appear as if they’re more concerned with identifying new problems to which they can apply pre-existing solutions.
If you already know what the ‘answer’ is, it’s not research. It’s also not the answer to better social policy.
Social problems are complex. Why do some think tanks seem to suggest the solutions are easy? If we’re going to develop more informed social policy then we need more critical policy analysis. And one way to do this could be to open up research and policy to a far greater array of perspectives, particularly those on the frontline of public services. At least, that’s what we believe.