Collect research data to support policymaking.The government is often described as a "political machine." If it were, in fact, machinery, Politicians would operate it. Behind the scenes, however, the people building and assembling it would be Policy Analysts and Policy Advisors, who function as political Engineers and Technicians, respectively.
Indeed, when you're a Policy Advisor, you assist in the manufacturing of political policies, just like a Technician who assists in the installation, maintenance, and repair of mechanical equipment. The policy you're "manufacturing" as a Policy Advisor might be nonpartisan, Republican, or Democratic, and it might be about any number of issues, such as immigration, foreign affairs, education, health care, the environment, or economics. Always, however, you study it, then advise on its development and implementation.Much like a Policy Analyst, to whom you report, you're employed by government agencies,
lobbying groups, and nonprofit organizations that seek to influence policymaking. Ultimately, though, it's the Policy Analyst who develops policies and you who does the research supporting them. For instance, consider a new state law providing healthcare benefits to homeless veterans. The Policy Analyst makes recommendations to Lawmakers about what those benefits should look like and how they should be administered. You, meanwhile, gather the information needed to make those recommendations. If another state has a similar law, for example, you study whether it worked or not, and then relay those findings along with your own opinions to the Policy Analyst. Your days are typically spent reading, researching, writing, and presenting policy-related reports. Because the end result is always the policy itself, however, you nonetheless help build the political machine – even if your contribution is tightening a single screw.