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What is the state of research on think tanks and context?

This is the second post in a series looking at think tanks and their contexts. Elizabeth Brown outlines the methodological details of a study undertaken by Results for Development and the University of Washington addressing a crucial question: how to study think tanks and their context?

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Transparency and Funding of Think Tanks in France

¿How transparent are French think tanks in regards to their funding? In this post, Transparify presents a compilation of publications on think tank funding, think tank transparency, and a review of relevant websites in French language, done by by Mr. Alexis Courbon Michel. His findings would suggest that French think tanks may be falling behind in this topic compared to their peers in the European Union.

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Introduction to the series on think tanks and context

Context matters when it comes to think tanks. That much we know. But how does it affect think tanks exactly and what can they do about it? This new series of think tanks and their context edited by by Elizabeth Brown, Aprille Knox, and Courtney Tommie.

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Public events where policy arguments take center stage: Batalla de Ideas

New forms of public policy debate can be entertaining, inclusive and enlightening. Think tanks ought to consider different ways of encouraging a wider and deeper discussion between experts and the public. Batalla de Ideas in Peru, offers some lessons.

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Announcing the winners for Round 3 of #TTDATAVIS

The process for choosing winners for this third and final round of the 2014-15 On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition has been a complicated one. In total we had 17 strong entries in this round. Of those, three were new and had only submitted to this round. But 14 also participated in a previous round. We asked our six judges to consider all seventeen entries, rather than narrowing it down to a top five in the public vote.

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A national ranking of influence: Chinese and American models

Two think tank rankings have been published recently: one for Chinese think tanks and one for US think tanks. Both have been developed by think tanks themselves and both have attempted to be as context specific and objective as possible. While they use different methods they offer an excellent opportunity for comparative research on think tanks.

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Want to be relevant? Learn how politics work -and have fun in the process

Comedy about politics serves other purposes beside entertainment. They can foster a richer political environment in which think tanks may be able to make greater contributions.

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Mentoring: what to keep in mind

Kirsty McNeill shares excellent advice on mentoring. She outlines the difference between mentors, coaches and sponsors and provides tips to get it right. In light of the interested there is from think tank leaders and their supporters to use mentors this post, from WonkComms, is very useful.

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Social scientists have a real opportunity to influence what politicians say in the run-up to the General Election

Academic researchers should have their say in holding policy promises to account. In this post first published on the LSE's Impact of Social Sciences blog, Jonathan Breckon charts the various activities around the country aimed at providing a rigorous evidence-base in the run-up to the UK’s General Election. A whole range of economists, statisticians, social scientists and others are fact-checking what politicians and pundits say so that they don’t get away with iffy promises or sound-bites. But the challenge in the boom of fact-checkers is getting the quality right.

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Gramsci and the literature on think tanks

In this post, Marcos Gonzalez explores how Gramsci's ideas have influenced the literature on think tanks and how we understand and work with them. He offers an explanation to why we tend to focus on the confrontational aspects of think tanks' roles.

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