Use of Electronic Communication in Political Campaigns
Q: I am researching the topic of how communication technology has been used for fund-raising and volunteering in politics/political campaigns. Do you have any advice for me about how I might approach doing this research? This will be used for a Website on how communication technology impacts politics/political campaigns for a graduate MBC course on Communication Technology. So far I have seen a lot of information about fund-raising and politics but not on how communication technology has impacted this. Thanks.
A: Dear Irene,
My first suggestion would be to start with some primary research by searching the Web for Websites for individual candidates in the current elections, as well as the sites for the political parties themselves. I’d also search sites for incumbents at the national and state level. That would give you some sense of how prevalent the use of technology is and what they’re doing with it. Once these elections are over, you could contact the staffs of the candidates and ask them about their outcomes from the sites, both in terms of fundraising and volunteers.
I’m not sure where you might find secondary research data. There is a professional publication called “Interactive PR” published by Ragan Communications in Chicago (www.ragan.com). Northwestern University has an academic journal about Integrated Marketing. There is an association of Government Communicators called FCN (maybe for Federal Communicators Network?). They might be able to help you as well. I’d also try places like the Annenberg School of Communication at USC and another one somewhere in Pennsylvania, as well as the Institute for Communication Research at my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I recently saw a list of past research by grad students on their web site and seem to recall some of them might have touched on your topic.
I hope this helps get you started. It sounds like an interesting and timely topic.
Angela D. Sinickas