Step 1 – Understanding Your Position
- Understand your committee. If you google the name, the website with the committee’s jurisdiction will come up.
- Understand your political party.
- Understand your congressperson’s position. Look at the representative(s) from your state in your committee and check their website or go to http://www.ontheissues.org/
- You might not have one specific person. If that’s the case, this is what your position will be:
- MOST important: your party
- your state’s senators
- congresspeople who have dealt with similar topics before
Step 2: Understanding Your topic
- Read your topic brief carefully! Keep an eye out for:
- important people and organizations
- possible solutions
- key info that could help you argue/come up with more solutions
- Look up your topic with the word “brief” after it. You might be able to find summaries on your issue. For example:
- google: “obesity epidemic brief,” and you might get something like this.
- Find out what’s happening with your issue and what people think about it. Most websites have a political leaning, so be wary of this. Some popular news sites and magazines from each side:
- If you find a website that you’d like to use but you’re not sure which way it leans, google the website’s name with “allsides” after it. You should be able to find a webpage that describes its political leaning. You can also try to look it up on www.allsides.org, however navigating that website is a little tricky.
Step 3: Research Solutions and Arguments!
- Thinktanks are websites where public policy experts write about different issues and their solutions. Thinktanks also tend to lean towards a political side. My favorites are:
- Academic journals are very long and dense, but occasionally you can type in a key phrase and a journal on the solution you’re looking into will pop up. The abstract is usually all you’ll need and it’ll have proof that a solution worked/didn’t work in a certain study. Check the research database page for logins to websites carrying academic journals.
- Google statistics to back up your arguments.