Research and Data Collection

Research and Data Collection


Pathways of Influence:
Steps to turn a little bit of knowledge
into a whole lotta power

Pathways of Influence Worksheet


For any policy campaign, it is essential to present data that defines the problem and science that support your policy solution. (For example, a campaign to increase a state tax on smokeless tobacco products would need to show data on the increasing use of these products among adolescents, as well as studies that show how a price increase leads to decreased use in this population.)  Without data that explains the problem and justifies a solution, a proposed policy lacks credibility and is unlikely to gain the support of decision makers.

However, strong data alone will not guarantee a campaign's success!  You will need an understanding of what is happening in the decision-making "environment" in order to plan your campaign approach.  You can get a sense of this environment through research that answers the following questions:

  • Who has the power to give you what you want?
  • What motivates these key decision makers?
  • How will you access and influence these decision makers?
  • Who will oppose your issue?

Conducting this research early in your campaign will help you find "pathways of influence" – or ways to connect with lawmakers on your issue through common interests or contacts.  You may find that your organization already has internal resources to help you reach key decision makers – and doing research early on will help you plan WHO and HOW to contact most effectively.

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