Posts tagged ‘Congressional Documents’

Know your Advocacy Issue Inside and Out

Before you can effectively promote and defend your issue you must thoroughly understand it. Researching a public policy issue is imperative if you expect to be able to promote it. When you have researched your issue you will be able to withstand even the toughest of questioning from opposing viewpoints.

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Quality research takes time. It also takes time to develop and hone the expertise needed for handling any type of public policy issue. This is why it is important that you schedule ample time for research. Unfortunately, the amount of time that is needed to thoroughly research an issue is a luxury that most people simply do not have. This is why it is important to learn how to efficiently conduct legislative research. There are many tools that are available to lobbyists and anyone else interested in learning how to conduct effective legislative research. Some of these tools include general web search engines, email alert services, blogs, transcripts and newswires, commercial online services and federal news services.

Also learn to anticipate criticism and scrutiny and how to handle it. Take into consideration conflicting views and what could be potentially said about the information you prepare to present. To prepare for this high degree of scrutiny, learn to critique your own work. Consider the weak points and aspects of your perspective that might be incomplete. Ask whether there are any biases in your information. Factor in whether there are any survey results that could be statistically important. Finally, consider whether your information is dated and whether there is other information that might be more credible or current.
Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak
You also want to have a solid understanding of the opposition. No position or issue is completely researched until you have fully researched the opposition and the arguments they are likely to make. Take the time to track and check the arguments of your opponents regularly through the use of such resources as daily press updates, web pages, print publications, lobbying reports and publication distribution lists. The more you know about your opposition, the better prepared you will be to face scrutiny of your issue and be prepared to defend it.

For more information on legislative research, consider our Research Workshop, How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents.

Reference: Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak, Chapter 5 Know your Issue.


For more information about research skills training from TheCapitol.Net, see these resources:

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Tips for Conducting Advocacy, Issue and Legislative Research

The way in which you conduct research as part of your efforts to lobby for a particular issue can have an important effect on the outcome of that issue. Extreme care must be exercised when preparing any research that will be utilized.

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First, double-check and verify everything. This includes the names of individuals, organizations, Internet web pages, etc. Such elements can easily be misspelled or mistaken. Take the time to perform a second check.

In addition, always take confidentiality into consideration. Information can be rapidly forwarded as a part of today’s electronic world. Not only can information be leaked to the media, but it can also be forwarded to opposing interests. A good rule to follow is to make certain you never place anything in writing that you would not want to see on the front page of The Washington Post.

As you go about the process of verifying information, be certain that you keep a comprehensive record of all of your references. Operate under the assumption that your information will be highly scrutinized in public. Consider your sources carefully. Remember that not everything you read, especially in regards to the Internet, can be trusted.

Also consider the political agenda of any organization that provides information to you. Take the time to research the organization to obtain insight regarding their political leanings.

Never forward any document that has been prepared by anyone else without first providing proper attribution.

You should also always consider where your information Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelakmay ultimately land. Even though the information you prepare may be directed to a specific member of Congress or staff person, it is entirely possible that information may be forwarded to someone else.

When conducting research, make sure you are relevant as well as concise. Your information should be tailored specifically to the interests of the policymaker. Whenever possible, try to use information from that Senator’s state or Representative’s own district. Ultimately, they are concerned with how information will affect their constituents.

Finally, clarify expectations and deadlines in advance. Be sure you know precisely the purpose of your information and how the information will be used.

To conduct more effective and more efficient research, consider one of TheCapitol.Net’s Research Workshops.

Reference: Section 5.4 Special Considerations for Legislative Research, in Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak


For more information about research skills training from TheCapitol.Net, see these resources:

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