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Evaluation Research Strategy

This document provides an overview of the research strategies we plan to use to evaluate the US Social Forum and the planning process surrounding and following it. The main research tools we'll use include interviews and observations of organizing work in Detroit and at the National level, observations of workshops and cultural activities at the USSF itself, and surveys of participants in the USSF. We'll build on surveys and tools used by other scholars and activists and will continue to improve these as we reflect on the Detroit USSF.

Preliminary Reports on the USSF

Click on the tab that says "Talk page" to provide your reactions, thoughts, ideas based on these reports

1) Organizing Process

Summary of NPC discussions of political questions 2009-2011
NPC Survey Charts & Graphs (.xls)
NPC Survey Open Ended Responses (.pdf)
Standardized Work Reports for USSF Work Areas (87 pages, .pdf)
Summary of research on development of norms and leadership in the US and World Social Forums

2) At the USSF

UC-R* Report on Survey of Participants in USSF 2010
Report on workshops at the USSF (.pdf)
Summary Transcript of USSF Workshop on the "Future of the Forums-Learning from the US Social Forum (.pdf)
Boston Freedom Ride: Report from the Boston Scholar-Activist Research Collaborative

3) Post-USSF Follow-up'

"Synthesis report from USSF Detroit PMA process'" (.pdf)
"Fall 2012 Update of PMA Process and Goals'" (.pdf)
For more information, see:People's Movement Assembly Process
Left Forum 2012-Report on Workshops on Links between Occupy Wall Street and US/WSF Process (.pdf)
Report on USSF E-newsletter, 2012 (.pdf)

  • *"UC-R" Materials- A research team of student and scholar volunteers helped collect survey data. Evaluation Committee member Jackie Smith also helped train volunteers who interviewed leaders and participants, and observed a sample of workshops and cultural events at the USSF. This is contributing to our ongoing work to document and evaluate the effectiveness and the accomplishments of the US Social Forum and learn from this experience about how best to organize in today's political climate.

Preparations for Documenting the USSF Students and researchers volunteering to assist in this effort to help document and evaluate the USSF worked in advance of the USSF to familiarize themselves with the US Social Forum and World Social Forum process, as well as with methods of studying social movements. They attended workshops and trainings in Detroit just prior to the USSF. The following links contain Recommended Readings:

Resources on Detroit and on the WSF and USSF- USSF Detroit Background Readings

Observation study

The US Social Forum will be an intense five days of cultural events and workshops as well as informal and spontaneous gatherings of activists, organizers, and others hoping to make another United States possible. To document what is happening over this short period, we have assembled a team of trained students and scholars who will spread out across the wide array of events and spaces of the USSF to document what is happening. We will organize these observations in a way that can be useful for assessing the USSF's impact on social movements attending the gathering.

Our observation protocol is designed to help us collect comparable information across diverse workshops and cultural events. Research team members are encouraged to review this document and provide their feedback on the research instrument. We are working hard to make this tool as easy to use as possible and as comprehensive as possible in capturing all the elements of the workshops that reflect the work that is happening at the USSF. This page will link to the most updated version of our observation tools.

  • Long-form of observation protocol: Before the US Social Forum, familiarize yourself with this form so you can be ready to record your observations and organize your research notes to help you answer the questions in this form. After the US Social Forum, use this form to organize your reports on the workshops you observed Post your entries here.
You may complete this form for each of the workshops you observed and send to: research at
PDF Media:USSF_Observation_Guide_Long_Form.pdf

  • Observation protocol- short form: Familiarize yourself with this observation guide and keep a copy of this with you as you attend workshops and take detailed observation notes during the USSF. Media:Observation protocol Draft.pdf

Survey of USSF Participants

This survey is being led by a research team at the University of California Riverside. This team has conducted surveys at the 2005 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, the 2007 World Social Forum in Nairobi, and at the 2007 US Social Forum in Atlanta. Reports on their research can be found at:

Supporting Documentation of the USSF

Our team will also be conducting interviews with participants in the USSF and uploading digital recordings (as appropriate and acceptable to participants) to the Peoples University of the USSF archive.

Volunteers are asked to bring digital audio recorders and/or video equipment to record interviews. The People's Media Center will have facilities for uploading material.

    • Please use the talk page to provide suggestions for modifications to these research tools or to comment on the overall design plan for the study. Your input is vital to making sure our work can contribute to improving movement building in the United States and in the World Social Forums.