The Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group presently is conducting an online survey of staff regarding the legislative branch's capacity. On August 1, 2017, we will be distributing this questionnaire to all individual professionals who work for a member, committee, or party leader in the US House or Senate in Washington, DC. Look for it in your inboxes with the subject "Congressional Capacity Survey."
The James Madison University Institutional Review Board (IRB) is monitoring the research project to make sure participants’ identities are kept in strict confidence.

About the 2017 Congressional Capacity Staff Survey

Our nation faces many challenges and public servants play a critical role in addressing those challenges. Your participation in this survey will provide important insight into the personnel and resources that Congress allocates to itself to perform its role in resolving public problems through legislating, budgeting, holding hearings, and conducting oversight. There is simply no better source of information about how to achieve these objectives than our current congressional staffers. Staffers background, experiences, and policy views are essential to helping us understand the current state of congressional capacity and how best to empower the institution and its members to achieve their goals.

Purpose of the research: This survey seeks to find out more about the backgrounds, career paths, policy views, and job experiences of congressional staffers, as well as the procedures and organizational structures that allow these individuals to do their work in the most effective and democratically responsive ways. Your input will help us get a better understanding of the current and future state congressional capacity.

Study Procedures: The survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. It can be completed online.

Confidentiality: All records from this study will be kept strictly confidential. The results of the survey will be reported as aggregate statistics so that the identities of individual survey respondents cannot be inferred. Research records will be stored securely as encrypted files on password-protected computers, and in encrypted files on secure servers. The research team will be the only persons who will have access to identifiable survey data.

Benefit and Risk: The main benefit of the study will be to provide evidence-based proposals for improving congressional capacity and performance. The only risks associated with participation in this study are consequences that might result from unauthorized use or theft of the survey responses. The research team conducting the study has taken all necessary precautions to minimize the risk of accidental disclosure or theft of confidential data.

Compensation: Participants in this survey will not receive any compensation.

Principal Investigators: 

Timothy LaPira, Ph.D., James Madison University

Lee Drutman, Ph.D., New America
EMAIL: drutman [at] newamerica [dot] org

Kevin Kosar, Ph.D., R Street
EMAIL: kkosar [at] rstreet [dot] org

Alexander C. Furnas,  University of Michigan
EMAIL: zfurnas [at] umich [dot] edu

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Ph.D., Columbia University
EMAIL: ah3467 [at] Columbia [dot] edu

If you have questions regarding your rights as a research subject, or if problems arise which you do not feel you can discuss with the Investigators, please contact the Institutional Review Board at:

Office of Research Integrity
Blue Ridge Hall
MSC 5738
Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807

Email: morgancs [at] jmu [dot] edu

IRB Protocol #: 18-0030 

Approval date: 7/7/2017