Getting in touch

What information can others provide?

Interviewing, surveying, talking and writing to people who have an interest in your issue can help you clarify your own ideas and understandings. Before you embark on contacting others, be very clear about the information you wish to obtain from them. Make sure your questions are well structured and are relevant.

Experts

PTD-web-expertAn expert is someone who knows a lot about topic. They have spent years researching it, writing about it and advising others.

SurveysPTD-web-public-survey

You can create online surveys, which are easy to distribute and to collate. Surveys are a good way of understanding what those that are affected by an issue think about the problem and how it can be solved. Survey data can be used to support your claim for change.

Person in chargePTD-web-leader

A person who is responsible for an issue might provide you with insights if anything has been already done about this issue or if any plans are made for the future. Or they simply might have ideas on how you should approach your campaign.

Interview

Sometimes talking to people affected by the issue can help in extending your understanding of it. Recorded interviews can provide a personal story behind the issue, to which others respond better than just facts.

Public ServantsPTD-web-public-servant

Public servants administer and create policies around the laws. If you want to know what is currently in place and what the governments responsibilities are around particular issues, you can contact one of the departments which deal with it.

ActivistPTD-web-activist

Contacting an activists or lobbyist on a particular issue can provide you with insight on what has worked for them in the past. They can also explain any information about your issue that you don’t understand. Make sure that you form your own view point which is balanced and based on evidence.

Your turn!

Have a look at the following scenarios. Think about whom would be the best person or group of people to contact before deciding on your course of action?

1. You would like to change the menu in your canteen. One day should be a healthy eating day. This will be good for students and teachers. You will write a letter to a principal requesting a change. But, with who should you consult first?

2. The local animal shelter is getting overcrowded as more and more animals are brought in. This means that in order to accommodate the new arrivals the shelter needs to put down the older animals who have not been adopted. You are not happy with this situation and would like to speak with a person in charge. Who would that be?

3. Your local buses are not very frequent, and they often miss your connection to the train that takes you to school or TAFE. The buses only need to run a couple of minutes earlier in order to make it. Who can help you with this problem?

Please note

When making contact with adults outside your school you should always speak to your teacher or parent. It is always good to pass your idea by someone, as they might offer you advice on how to handle and approach people.