Election integrity research is any systematic investigation to discover facts or collect information in order to improve election transparency, fairness and accountability. Research includes methods such as observation to document election problems; case studies; quotations from experts and witnesses; tests, photo / video evidence, collection of costs and statistics.
Some useful research sources are:
• Public records
• Video and photo documentation
• Government information and statistics
• News media
• Formal published reports by credible sources
• Information or quotes provided by experts
• Excerpts from federal or state constitution
• Legislation and court cases
• Other election integrity organizations
• Opinion Polls
Why is research important?
Research helps you to gain a clear understanding of issues affecting election integrity, and it is the foundation for successful advocacy. Research also helps to personalize your issue and build empathy.
Effective research should:
• Focus on a problem that directly affects the integrity of elections
• Collect and present evidence in a systematic way
• Analyze laws, rules and policy to uncover noncompliance or gaps
• Analyze data objectively
• Look into the root causes of problems
• Identify solutions
Credible research should:
• Provide objective analysis, not just selective cases and anecdotes.
• Be presented in an accessible and easily understandable, user-friendly way.
• Provide background to help the issue in context.
• Be targeted to the information needs of your audience.
• Incorporate measureable facts, figures and statistics.
• Be fair and accurate
• Include reliable, sourced material
• Be non-political – Avoid embedding partisan values or argumentation into your research.
Reference your research so others can check the truth of your research. Any person should be able to see the source of your research and confirm it for themselves.
Creating a report:
• Give your analysis substance by introducing it in its broader context
• Establish your experience or credentials
• Provide case studies, anecdotes and examples
• Provide evidence
• If possible, provide cost-benefit arguments, including cost of inaction
• Point to public concern
• Disprove false information
• Provide counter arguments to positions held by vendors and public officials unsympathetic to your research
• Provide workable solutions