5 Policy Research Centers Helping Us Understand And Improve Our Society

Economic and political policies structure both entire communities and individual lives, influencing everything from urban planning and employment to healthcare and the environment. The research centers here are dedicated to studying these and other complex issues, all with the aim of educating the populace and effecting positive social change. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Groups Researching & Advancing Public Policy

Research Center Location What It Does
The Norman Lear Center Los Angeles, California Studies the social, political, economic, and cultural impact of entertainment on the world, translating findings into action through testimony, journalism, strategic research, and public outreach
The University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Lexington, Kentucky Informs evidence-based policy on the causes, consequences, and correlates of poverty, inequality, and food insecurity in the United States
The NYU Furman Center New York City, New York Advances research and debate on housing, neighborhoods, and urban policy
Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health Oakland, California Conducts innovative, multidisciplinary research on complex issues related to people's sexual and reproductive lives
Parkland Institute Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Studies economic, social, cultural, and political issues facing Albertans and Canadians, using the perspective of political economy

NYU Furman Center's Crucial Research

9 Powerful Books About Important Issues

Title Author(s) More by the Author
1. Evicted Matthew Desmond Race in America
2. Don't Call Me Princess Peggy Orenstein Girls & Sex
3. A World of Three Zeros Muhammad Yunus Building Social Business
4. Against Football Steve Almond Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life
5. Good and Mad Rebecca Traister All the Single Ladies
6. Your Brain's Politics George Lakoff & Elisabeth Wehling The Political Mind
7. In the Plex Steven Levy The Perfect Thing
8. Trainwreck Sady Doyle Nasty Women
9. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts Gabor Maté When the Body Says No

The Influence of Policy

In Depth

While urbanization and modern technology facilitate our advancement as a human race, we are now confronted with new complex problems stemming from globalization, such as climate change and wealth inequality. Despite government efforts, much of our understanding of how these issues affect our society comes from research conducted by non-profit organizations. In no particular order, here are five policy research centers focused on studying issues in the public realm.

Topping off the list at #1 is the Norman Lear Center, a research and public policy organization that studies the social, political, economic, and cultural impact of entertainment on the world. From its base in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the Lear Center aims to turn findings into action through journalism, testimony, strategic research, and public outreach campaigns.

The Center features numerous projects, such as Hollywood, Health & Society, Politics & Entertainment Surveys, the Media Impact Project, and the Marty Kaplan Writing Archive, among others. While remaining nonpartisan, it operates a blog that relates its focus on the entertainment industry to the current social and political issues at the forefront of American discourse.

The Center features numerous projects, such as Hollywood, Health & Society, Politics & Entertainment Surveys, the Media Impact Project, and the Marty Kaplan Writing Archive, among others.

Coming in at #2 is the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, a non-profit academic center established in 2002. UKCPR is based in the Gatton College of Business and Economics and studies the causes, consequences, and correlates of poverty, inequality, and food insecurity in the United States. UKCPR receives numerous grants from federal agencies to support its research and sponsor conferences on low-income populations.

Led by Founding Director Dr. James P. Ziliak, UKCPR staff and faculty aim to reflect the cross-disciplinary emphasis of the research agenda they conduct. The Center's representatives have backgrounds in economics, public policy, political science, public health, sociology, and social work, which allows it to fully understand the far-reaching causes and consequences of poverty in the US.

#3 on our list is the NYU Furman Center, a nonprofit dedicated to the study of legal and public policy issues involving land use, real estate, housing, and urban affairs in the United States. Through academic and empirical research, it promotes frank and productive discussions among both elected and appointed officials by providing essential data about the current state of local housing.

Through academic and empirical research, it promotes frank and productive discussions among both elected and appointed officials by providing essential data about the current state of local housing.

The NYU Furman Center boasts several publications that analyze the availability and success of housing-related government programs, as well as the historical trends that influence urban development and inequality. Further, the Center has created several special projects that promote both local and national solutions to the issues posed from its research.

At #4 is Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, a collaborative research group at the University of California, San Francisco's Bixby Center. ANSIRH conducts innovative, rigorous, multidisciplinary research on complex issues related to people's sexual lives. The organizations seeks to improve reproductive wellbeing by advancing evidence-based policy, practice, and public discourse on the subject.

ANSIRH provides resources for groups or individuals looking for further information on its research regarding abortion, contraception, and policy, as well as how those subjects are dealt with culturally and internationally. Additionally, it presents books and journal articles detailing the Center's research and findings. Contact information may be requested from those looking to speak directly with a number of the group's qualified experts.

ANSIRH provides resources for groups or individuals looking for further information on its research regarding abortion, contraception, and policy, as well as how those subjects are dealt with culturally and internationally.

Last on our list at #5 is the Parkland Institute, a non-partisan research center situated within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. The Institute studies the issues facing Albertans and Canadians using the perspective of political economy, an interdisciplinary method of thinking that draws on economics, history, business, anthropology, sociology, and political science.

Parkland Institute's research focuses on three broad-based themes: revitalizing democracy and the role of government, building a just and sustainable economy, and improving quality of life. The Institute regularly publishes official reports and fact sheets that examine the issues confronting Canadian society in order to promote productive discussion in the public sphere.