Governments need information in order to make good decisions about policy.

There are hundreds of think tanks here in the U.S. that help shape government decisions at the national, state and local level through the research they produce.

Think tanks can be non-partisan or can lean along a party line. They can be issue-specific or general. They can focus on state government or national government. Each one is different, but their main output is the same - information.

WHAT IS A THINK TANK?

Governments need information in order to make good decisions about policy. Think tanks produce research to supply that information.

There are hundreds of think tanks here in the U.S. that help shape government decisions at the national, state and local level.

Think tanks can be non-partisan or can lean along a party line. They can be issue-specific or general. They can focus on state government or national government. Each one is different, but their main output is the same - information.

EXAMPLES

National

Number: Around 235

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State

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Number: Around 12 in Florida

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Campus

Number: One

FUNCTIONS OF A THINK TANK

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Perform original research

The most unique function of think tanks is to produce original research. This is its most academic function. Torchlight aims to use commonly-available data to gain important insights into the effectiveness of past policy, and efficacy of proposed policies.

Connect with experts

Researchers in think tanks are not practical experts in the fields they may be researching about. Rather, the goal is to connect with experts in the field and digest their insight into policy change. Torchlight drives its findings from data and from experts on policies on campus.

Advise policymakers

A successful think tank produces research that is used by policymakers in their administration. Torchlight produces research that can hopefully be used by both student leaders and campus administration.

Provide government oversight

Some think tanks don't only analyze potential policy options - they may also evaluate existing policy decisions made by legislators. As an impartial, third-party watchdog, think tanks are a valuable source of government oversight.