Political research

War room Back to the Research Magazine article about alternative models for research. I have already referenced myself <sigh> on the Sample of one. Stephen Brown on the power of the transmedia concept which the Harry Potter franchise is such a useful casestudy for and Piracy. and Peter Kellner of Yougov considering the learnings from political research. In particular he talks about the construction of narratives – an essential task when so much of politics is grounded in the immediate. And trying to spin an advantage out of the instant. Unless the findings of political research are put into some kind of context they won't get traction.  Much of what Kellner said reminded me of a talk at the battle of big thinking 2 years ago by Joel Levy who was a researcher working in the campagn team for key Democratic politicians like Kerry and Hilary CIinton. His take on the immediacy of political research was the need to reconstruct research findings for the war room – the nerve centre of an election campaign where the key issues were stuck on the wall. And research was expected to shape the discussion about what issues to flag next and how to position them. The findings of a slew of focus groups or a series of polls would have to be condensed to a single sheet of paper – simple enough for a campaign team to be able to grasp and use on the fly.

The peril in research is so grounding itself in a grand narrative that it ceases to be useful here and now.  What I find interesting in political research is the need for actionability. We could do with a few more war rooms in marketing departments. And research that is shaped to be used immediately.

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