The characteristics and the mission of think tank study define it a professional task. There exist rules in studying science and technology and policy. In 2008, based on my experience and knowledge, I put forward a methodology for studying this field, that is DIIS: Date—Information—Intelligence—Solution (as the figure shows).
A complete think tank project includes the followings: collect data about the research question and related phenomena; then process and analyze the data with professional skills to form object perception and information; subsequently, experts review the information we have gained to reach new perception, new framework and new clues; finally, find solutions to the research question and provide a complete report. During this process, scientific methods and methodologies should be applied to ensure scientificity. These methods includes bibliometrics, situational analysis, social surveys, brainstorming, Delphi method etc.. It is safe to say that a high level think tank research entails all the process of DIIS.