This paper provides a comparative analysis of current Finnish and Scottish think tanks and reviews how think tanks in these countries have evolved, how think tanks seek to influence decision making and engage with their stakeholders. To address the ways of influence this paper looks how Finnish and Scottish think tanks describe themselves and how they use publications in their advocacy. Conducted content analysis indicates that usually registered association based Finnish think tanks are generally more research-focused organisations, who overall deploy more research publications for advocacy than the company based Scottish think tanks. Findings also reveal that the number of think tanks in both countries has greatly increased in the last two decades due to the political challenges with European Union and national politics. The paper provides a new approach to study think tanks in national contexts.