As I was researching information on topic X, I found a paper published by a Think Tank. Interesting enough, said paper supports the policy pushed by the Think Tank. So far, all sources used in my paper are from researchers at a University, and I was wondering if I should include the paper in my lit review.

My question is whether I should include the paper or just ignore it, seeing as how the publisher holds a strong bias (possible conflict of interest). With that said, I'm also curious whether it's normal to cite research put out from a Think Tank.

1 Answer 1


Your literature review should include relevant research around your topic. If the paper is just a policy statement, you can ignore it. But if it is based on research by the think-tank you could include it. However, it would be good to indicate a caveat in some way, perhaps just by having a separate section, perhaps with a clear statement.

Some think-tank research isn't really research at all, of course, but just the gathering of one-sided support for an already decided on position. The caveat given for papers of that sort should be strong IMO. But, since that isn't research in any sense, but just propaganda, you can ignore it with a clear conscience.

But for a direct answer, I doubt that this is very common except in some fields in which think-tanks generally do valid research. Though a thesis based on the analysis of propaganda would probably be an exception to this rule.

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