JamesOz's Shortform

by JamesOz8th Apr 20214 comments
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Small request for help to measure the impact of an intervention we have planned:


In short, Animal Rebellion UK is planning a large protest/civil resistance action and I'm keen to try quantitatively and semi-rigorously measure the impact of this, budget permitting. We’re planning on doing an opinion poll (or another bit of market research) before and after our action, with roughly a cohort of 1000 people, to see if what we did actually managed to change public opinion around animal farming. I’ve never done something like this before but I’m sure there’s many people in EA who would have some tips on how to conduct this research in the best way possible. I think this research would be useful as there hasn’t been much quantitative or rigorous evidence on the impact of protests so I think it would be an interesting experiment generally.


My request: would anyone be interested in having a 30-min video call with me to offer some advice on the best ways to conduct this? Feel free to message me via the EA Forum or email me at james.ozden@hotmail.com. Thanks!

If you haven't already, make sure you check out Faunalytics' helpful resources on survey design. https://faunalytics.org/research-advice/

And yes, I'd be happy to have a quick call, assuming this is still relevant. You can pick a time here https://calendly.com/jamie-a-harris94/60min

Why is there such a big disparity in focus areas between grassroots groups and NGOs/think-tanks? 


I’m thinking primarily in the two cause areas I’m most involved in: animal welfare and climate change. Animal Welfare NGOs focus a lot on corporate cage-free reforms (the EA ones anyway) whilst most grassroots groups are talking about ending factory farming, fur or individual vegan outreach. For climate, it’s even worse: Think-tanks recommend clean energy R&D and innovation whilst most grassroots groups often reject nuclear and other tech-focused solutions for nature-based solutions. Why are these differences so big (in these cases), how bad is it to not have a unified movement and what can be done about it?


Would like to write a bigger post about this at some point but initial thoughts to remedy this:

  • We incubate EA-aligned social movements/grassroots groups (currently writing a big post on this)
  • A 'middle-man' organisation to bring these different groups into the same room to try collaborate on shared campaigns? Probably very hard work.
  • Strategy workshops for grassroots groups and NGOs - more tractable and could lead to obvious shared goals. I can definitely seeing this helping grassroots groups who often don't think strategically (I feel justified in saying this after being involved for 4 years of grassroots work).

Disclaimer: There are some strategic grassroots groups out there and lots of variety in campaign demands across the two movements so this is definitely not representative of all groups.

I'm not very familiar with the grassroots, so maybe I'm way off.

I think some of the big effective animal adocacy groups started as grass roots, and then because they were judged to be cost-effective, they were recommended by ACE or funded by Open Phil until they became big and weren't really grassroots anymore.

  1. Maybe it's primarily because big funders don't value a lot of grassroots work (rightly or wrongly), and if they did, those orgs would professionalize and scale up.
  2. Or, some grassroots work is necessarily too low-scale (even if cost-effective) and it's not worth the effort to try to estimate its value. So, projects with greater scale will disproportionately be more well-funded.
  3. Or, maybe grassroots work, even on the same things in different regions, is more variable in cost-effectiveness because of less structure and different organizers in each region, or funders expect it to be. A fur campaign succeeding in one city might not tell you much about whether a fur campaign in another city will succeed if they share none of the same organizers.

The Humane League started as a grassroots group, has a large network of campus activists so still does grassroots work, and they support smaller groups with the Open Wing Alliance. I think they have done training for other groups, too. Maybe they're pretty unique this way, though?