Some of us at APEP spend way too much time imagining arguments that would overwhelm those with whom we might disagree about, well, everything. It’s not very productive. Now comes our brilliant Aspen Institute colleague, Eric Liu, with something better— the Better Arguments Project. This initiative will provide facilitation support and other resources to communities willing to bring together people with diverse perspectives to discuss tough issues. The catch? Communities must commit to five principles: 1) take winning off the table, 2) prioritize relationships and listen passionately, 3) pay attention to context, 4) embrace vulnerability, and 5) make room to transform. Know a community that might be ready to argue better? Nominations are due April 10!
Evaluators in the advocacy and policy change world have it tough— complex processes, unpredictable events, fallible human beings. If only advocacy could be done by bots (oh, wait…). Evaluators working on behavior change projects in developing countries may have it equally tough. Like the projects themselves, evaluators face challenges in understanding how change happens and the barriers to change. It is also tough to design activities that enable measurement of impact as well as learning and adaptation. We know from experience that this ain’t easy. The lively and talkative crowd over at the Pelican listserv has been talking up a website with lots of useful resources: Behaviourchange.net. It’s worth a look-see.
From Buzzfeed we learned last week about Civiqs, a new online political survey panel created by the founder of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas. Online polls aren’t new — nor are they all created equal. The heavyweights in online panel surveys typically use probability sampling and provide internet access to those who don’t have it in order to avoid sampling bias. The Methodological Geek in us wasn’t too excited to see that the Civiqs panel appears to rely on respondents who already have internet access. Its respondent recruitment pitch also caught our eye: “Civiqs makes your views heard. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it makes a difference.” A Democracy Lite pitch? With revelations about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica currently swirling in the news, you’ll forgive us if we’re extra wary of claims about how political data on We the People are collected and used.