Action Research Kit with Research Protocol and Resources

cropped-rod-banner-with-tagline-4-x-111.jpgPurpose of an Action Research Kit:  To provide concise, fact-based, powerful information on clearly defined issue areas designed first to educate our base, motivate their taking action, and be easy to share with others. 

Purpose of the Research Protocol:  As many as 40-50 people may offer to help with the research. There are double that from throughout the state who have expressed interest in becoming involved.  The purpose of the protocol is to ensure the integrity and quality of the work, to provide researchers a clear target, and to reduce the amount of editing involved once each researcher has completed his or her first effort.

Here is what is included in this guide, in order of inclusion.

  • A description of the purpose of the Action Research Kits
  • Guidelines for what should be included and their contents/structure;
  • The research development and coordination process, including the editing and posting process;
  • A list of immediate priorities for research. For those of you who have already identified your research area, certainly stick with it, but if you are open to putting something on a back burner for the next kit you do, then these priorities could inform your decision and also help others who have not found a topic yet.
  • Table of Research Categories and Topic areas for all writers, and contact info for the Coordinator of the Team, the two Research Leads, but Christina and I missed the name of the second editor. Please provide as otherwise it is just Christina, which is not supportable. If you would like to volunteer to help edit research products, please write to Christina at tododia@sbcglobal.net.
  • Click the link: research-resource-guide-1-29-17-pdf to access a Research Resource Inventory developed by Judy and Mary Anne. While it is still in draft form, it is a very useful tool.

General Guidelines for Each Research Piece

Standard Content

Each piece will focus on a discrete topic within one of the categories listed below.  Each category will be broken into some number of individual topics as needed to keep the briefs focused. We will revise categories and topics as needed. To assist researchers in accessing the highest quality research and media sources, Mary Anne Reilly and Judy Klinger have assembled an inventory of sources, click here to access this tool: research-resource-guide-1-29-17-pdf. And to ensure consistency in the research produced, we have two editors who will review drafts before they are submitted to Paul Gibson for placement on the blog site. We badly need 2-3 more editors so if you’d like to volunteer for this role, please write to Christina Allday-Bondy at christina.alldaybondy@gmail.com

Issue Categories (subject to change)

  • Environment (includes water, land, air, climate change)
  • Community Development
  • Criminal Justice (including gun violence prevention)
  • Social and Racial Justice (includes indigenous, black lives matter)
  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Education (include Pre-K through college)
  • Healthcare (includes behavioral health, prevention, Medicaid, pharma, etc.)
  • Immigration
  • Foreign Policy
  • Wealth Gap and Income Inequality (includes Tax and Revenue, minimum wage, and labor issues)
  • Election Reform

Approach to Audience.  This is tricky.  We are beginning by appealing to our base, giving them tools to share with others and to inform their conversations with others who see the world either somewhat or even very differently than we do.  It is essential to keep this in mind as we move forward.  Each piece starts from a value based statement introducing the category and/or topic.  These statements serve as a non-polarizing starting point from which to present the findings.  We are not trying to be “objective” or give equal weight to disparate sets of facts, interpretations, or opinions.  Instead, we are looking to be unapologetic and open about our point of view, rigorous about providing reliable supporting documentation, and as inclusive as possible in our language so as to be heard by as diverse an audience as possible.  Expected uses for these briefs include:

  • Handouts for discussion at house parties, book clubs, forums, etc.
  • Citizen lobbyists use with legislators or as sources for letters to editors & other actions
  • Educational sources for interested people browsing through website
  • Handouts for people to share with friends

Structure-Contents. 1000-1500 word narrative, with hyper links to other sources. The narrative should include:

  • The problem being addressed, presumably substantiated with recent data or references to credible reports;
  • Description of what has been tried and why it has not worked, again substantiated with data or references;
  • A description of one or at most two solutions (we want this to be simple and easily digestible and not sound high-toned or doctoral;
  • The inclusion of visuals, either jpeg photos, charts or infographics, photos very important;
  • The potential impact on people and/or planet if this strategy were implemented, this could include budget savings, increased business development, reductions in methane, whatever, also documented.

In addition to the above narrative, ideally each packet would include separate narrative that is referenced in the above narrative so that it can be linked into the narrative above.

  • For any social, economic or environmental challenge that might be addressed, if possible include one local, state and national piece of legislation or initiative that could address the problem, spelling out how each would work and impact the people affected by the challenge;
  • In addition, a link to a personal story illustrating the impact in human terms of the current policy and how life would be different with a different policy;
  • If available a link to a compelling video. So for example if you were writing about the pharmaceutical industry you might include a link to a heartrending example of the impact of the pharmaceutical industries greedy manipulation of prescription prices, click here.
  • It is very important to in some way identify the source for assertions made in the body of the document. Probably the easiest way to do this is to embed a hyperlink to each document referenced and used to make some assertion. You can insert a hyperlink by going to the “Insert” pull down menu in MS Word. It is the last item in the Insert pull down menu.

Research Coordination Process

We are working to identify a research coordinator for each Issue Category.  Coordinator responsibilities will include:

  • Identify 5-6 research topic areas within your category.
  • Develop values based introductory statements for your category and each topic within it.
  • Work with researchers to assign topics to individuals or teams according to interest and expertise.
  • Develop timelines for completion and mechanisms to maintain some level of accountability to the accepted protocols.
  • Work with other research coordinators and research team coordinator(s) (if any) to develop and refine these protocols.
  • Work with other research coordinators to identify areas of category/topic overlap and agree on how to break things down to avoid duplication of effort.
  • While most of the ‘coordination’ will occur directly with researchers, there likely will be periodic meetings to assess overall progress and move the process forward.  The frequency, process, and agendas of such meetings will be decided on jointly by the coordinators.

Highest Priority Research Topics.

The first list represents our highest priorities largely because they have bills associated with them being introduced in the Roundhouse. A second list follows this and this includes some issues that duplicate the first list.

  • Tax and Revenue—this is a high priority because it making major tax and revenue reform should have been the first thing out of the box in the Roundhouse in 2019.  While some improvements in our tax and revenue system, much was left on the table due to Sen. Clemente Sanchez and Sen. John Arthur Smith.  NM has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation and badly needs to increase taxes on the 10% and corporations. So many giveaways in the Johnson and Martinez eras.  But with so much gas and oil revenue flowing in, legislatiors are wary of introducing tax increases. We need to provide solid evidence for how that revenue could be collected and used. Here we can work with NM Voices for Children who do extensive research in this area. .
  • Benefits of Early Childhood Educ and Wisdom of Increasing Draw on the Permanent Fund. This has been killed in Senate Finance every year for the past eight. It needs to pass but to get it through will take a sustained and focused effort. A well-done white paper on the financial benefits of early childhood investments and the benefits to low-income working families would be a great start.
  • Produced water and the impacts of fracking more generally.  The produced water bill has opened the door to using produced water in agriculture. We need to research this industry, the technology involved in treating toxic water produced in fracking processes, and the limits to that technology.
  • Strategies for making a ‘just transition’ in NM.  This is a very broad area that spans economic transitions, green infrastructure investment options and potential, restoration of the environment in Four Corners, southern NM and elsewhere where the extractive industry has operated.
  • Research on the eight Senate Democrats who voted no on HB 51 (who funds their campaigns, possible conflicts of interest, what is their history of bad votes beyond 2019, etc.) and research on their districts: demographics, industries, environmental challenges, major issues, and possible allies in the district. This is a different form of research, but a needed one.