Project LEGAL's

Public Policy Analyst

Public Policy Steps


Gathering evidence of the problem

The goal of these activities is to develop problem solving skills through using the Internet. Therefore, this step requires your group to use the Internet to locate at least three different types of evidence to support the existence of your problem.

This website has numerous resource links that contain data on the following categories of social problems: crime (including drugs and violence), environment, and education. Some of these sites will contain recent statistics on these problems, (e.g., various cities or states), articles by experts, and case studies.

Statistics that focus directly on your specific problem within your specific geopolitical location are usually the best source of evidence. However, sometimes the data is from national statistics and your problem location is for your city or state. Then, you may sometimes use that data with a statement that the problem in your city or state is consistent with the national data. Also, you may do a search with keywords from the social problem combined with the name of your city or state to locate additional web resources and data.

Suppose you are doing a social problem with your school or school district as the geopolitical location. Try to locate statewide or national data on the problem that best matches your type of school or district (e.g., urban or rural schools in your state). Then, you can contend that the data is applicable to your school or district as well.

Suppose that your social problem is a lack of spirit among students in your school. It is unlikely that the Internet will contain resources specifically on that problem. Instead, your group can develop a short survey, post it on your school's website, and encourage students to complete it (surveys could be used for any problem, of course). Your survey data may yield appropriate evidence. However, respondents must represent the schoolwide population.