We have now ran a leafleting study and humane education study, and also a pilot on a pay-per-view study. The purpose of these studies was to better inform our knowledge on the effectiveness of interventions to help animals, thus resulting in more accurate recommendations. These experiences have helped us decide our role moving forward regarding initializing our own research.
Extensive resources required to run quality studies
The two full studies that we ran (leafleting and humane education) took a good amount of our staff time to coordinate. Despite many hours in planning and assembling dozens of volunteers, we still only obtained a very small sample size. Because of this, we were unable to draw statistically significant results for certain effects from the data we collected.
These studies taught us that we don’t have the resources necessary to completely run field studies like these without significant assistance from other groups. While we think that our results provided some insight into the interventions in question, we ultimately do not believe that the results were useful enough to warrant the time we invested in these areas. We ran both studies concurrently, so there was no time for us to learn from one of the studies before moving on to the next one.
Experimenting with pilot studies
We therefore rethought our research model, and decided to always pilot any future studies before moving forward with a full study. To that end, we ran a pay-per-view pilot study over the summer to determine the number of follow-up responses we would need in order to gain statistically significant results were we to run a full study. We posted our findings in a recent blog entry, and have invited groups to contact us about working together to implement a full version of the study. As we expected based on our experience with the previous studies, we don’t have the resources to carry out the full study alone. Running the pilot has shown us that and also allows us to give potential partners a clear idea what we would need from them.
Networking with professional researchers
Outside of running studies ourselves , we are in discussion with a number of academics in economics and psychology about ways that they could run their own studies that add maximum value to the movement. As these discussions take a minimal amount of our time and can potentially result in very useful information, we think we are in a good place to help such individuals plan their research.
ACE’s role in research
We are still a small organization with a single researcher on staff, and have thus made the determination that we should not run additional studies without significant assistance at this time. Our evaluative field is unique in that there is very little research on the impact of interventions to help animals, information which is vital to our ability to produce high quality recommendations. Despite the great need we have for such research, we realize that other academics and professionals are likely in a better position to conduct higher quality research. While we are open to taking an active role by designing and piloting studies we think are particularly valuable, we don’t plan on running full studies by ourselves.
We are openly seeking academics to consult with regarding their own research, and exploring possibilities of working with other organizations on a pay-per-view study. We continue to look for the best ways for us to contribute maximum value to animal advocacy.