rc004 research and advocacy

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Instructions

Before submitting your Assessment, carefully review the rubric. This is the same rubric the assessor will use to evaluate your submission and it provides detailed criteria describing how to achieve or master the Competency. Many students find that understanding the requirements of the Assessment and the rubric criteria help them direct their focus and use their time most productively.

Access the following to complete this Assessment:

This assessment has three-parts. Click each of the items below to complete this assessment.

Part I: Research Brief

Select a topic of interest.

What current problems, policies, or issues affect the health, safety, or education of young children and families? Which of these issues are of greatest interest to you? Perhaps you are concerned about the increased focus on high-stakes testing in primary grades, the lack of opportunity for young children to engage in creative and experiential play, or the need to increase children’s access to books in the home. Explore the web resources provided with the Assessment and/or other resources to gain information and insights on pressing issues, needs, and challenges that affect children and families.

Based on your initial exploration, select a topic of interest, one for which you want to advocate for action that can positively impact the lives of children and families. With this issue in mind, continue exploring reputable resources and investigate advocacy organizations and initiatives that are already in place. Consider how this issue relates to your sphere of influence (e.g., workplace, local community, state, national, global level) and what actions you might take to promote positive changes within this sphere.

Based on your exploration, prepare a 2- to 3-page Research Brief as follows:

  1. Describe the advocacy issue/challenge/need and its impact on children and families.
  2. Include a synopsis of major, compelling research findings that support your position on the cause for which you want to advocate.
  3. Explore local, regional, state, national, and/or global advocacy efforts that have been devoted to this issue. Identify one or more organizations and describe their work in supporting the advocacy issue.
  4. After reading about how established organizations have advocated for your issue, describe an initiative of your own that could further your cause. Your initiative should be one that you can spearhead within your sphere of influence. Your initiative might involve activities that will increase awareness, educate others, change a policy, bring in resources to your workplace, start a community project, create a service to families, or any other forms of advocacy.
    • State at least two measureable goals that you believe can be achieved within the next six months to a year.
    • Include specific action steps you plan to take and a timeline for implementation.
    • Identify any roadblocks you anticipate and plans to overcome them.
    • Identify one or more policymakers or stakeholders to whom you will communicate your advocacy initiative.
    • Explain the purpose of your communication to these stakeholders.

Part II: Communication to Policymakers or Stakeholders

Determine whether your communication will be to policymakers or stakeholders. Consider what you know about this audience and, thus, what type of information and messages would best capture their hearts, minds, and interests about the issue/challenge/need you chose. Then, determine how best to present this information (e.g., PowerPoint presentation, letter, speech, video, proposal, historical timeline, report with statistics, etc.)

With these ideas in mind, prepare your communication piece and then either meet with your audience face to face or send the communication to your audience via e-mail or other means. If you meet with your audience, be sure to engage in dialogue and solicit their responses to the information, messages, and appeals for help. If you send the communication via e-mail or other means, request a response in writing, a phone call, or other form. You will submit your communication piece with this assessment. If it is a PowerPoint, video, or oral presentation, you will submit it as a separate file when you submit the Assessment.

Your communication should include:

  • Statement of issue/challenge/need being addressed
  • Brief explanation of the research you found
  • Description of the initiative you are spearheading and a rationale for its importance
  • Initiation of dialogue or an appeal for support
  • Request for a response
  • Proposal of next steps

Part III: Summary and Next Steps

Once you have received responses from policymakers or stakeholders, reflect on your experience and write a 2- to 3-page summary. Your summary should:

  1. Describe your experience in delivering your communication to policymakers or stakeholders. What worked well? What could you have done differently to better communicate the issue or to better position your intentions related to advocacy?
  2. Describe in detail the responses you received from individuals to who you delivered the communication. What did you learn? Explain how the responses serve to support or present challenges to your advocacy initiative.
  3. Determine at least three action steps for continuing your advocacy efforts (e.g., responding to one or both of the stakeholder groups, communicating with other stakeholders, organizing for action, conducting further research, etc.)

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