Blog Archives

Save the Date for Social Science Advocacy Day 2021

2021 Advocacy Day headerCOSSA’s 2021 Social Science Advocacy Day, the only annual, coordinated advocacy day in support of all of the social and behavioral sciences, will take place on April 27, 2021. Social Science Advocacy Day brings together social scientists and other science advocates from across the country to engage with policymakers. Last year, Advocacy Day went virtual, and COSSA will build on that experience in 2021 to give participants the ability to safely engage with their elected officials from home.

Participants will be teamed up with social scientists from their home state to participate in a day of virtual meetings with House and Senate offices to share with them why federal support for social and behavioral science research is so important. COSSA will provide multiple live and on-demand training opportunities and logistical support (including scheduling meetings with Congressional offices and providing an on-call expert to answer your day-of policy questions), as well as polished, up-to-date materials to help. Each team will also have the option of partnering with an experienced government relations professional to guide them through their meetings with Members of Congress and staff. Registration will open soon. Watch for more details in the COSSA Washington Update and on the Advocacy Day webpage.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 19), Update, Volume 40

Vaccination Communication Report Authors Highlight Strategies to Reduce Hesitancy

headlines bannerDuring the January 14 COSSA Headlines webinar, Drs. Christine Hunter and Wen-Ying Sylvia Chou, two of the co-authors of the recent National Institutes of Health report on COVID-19 Vaccination Communication           , shared an overview of the report. They also provided a summary of the report’s recommendations that communities can utilize to ensure that messaging about the entire COVID-19 vaccination process relies on evidence-backed strategies. These are available as a one-page tip sheet. A recording of the webinar and the slides are posted to the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 2 (January 19), Update, Volume 40

FROM THE ARCHIVES Decision on Census Adjustment Looms (January 29, 2001)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.

The attention to the choice of the new Census Director concerns the decision of which numbers the Bureau will release. The national-level data, which determines each state’s representation in Congress (apportionment), were made public at the end of December. However, the block-level data are scheduled to be available in March; these will include the raw “head count” figures. The controversy surrounds whether the Bureau will also release statistically-adjusted figures; this is currently unclear.

Statistical adjustment, or sampling, is used to correct for the two types of coverage error that usually results from the traditional Census methodology: failure to count individuals and mistakenly including individuals or counting them twice. The degree of error is determined through the Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation (ACE), which is conducted independently of other Census activities and is open to scientific peer review. Most statisticians regard the adjusted figures as more accurate[…]

Bush’s spokesman, when asked about Bush’s intentions, has, of late, consistently responded that he supports an “actual head count,” which appears to be a softer way of conveying opposition to sampling. According to Roll Call, Bush aides said one of his first acts as president “would be to block the Bureau’s release of census findings that are reached through sampling.” […]

Adding further ammunition to their cause, the Census Monitoring Board members who were appointed by President Clinton recently released a number of studies that reveal the expected consequences of failing to correct an undercount. One recent study, for example, shows that more than 20 percent of infants were missed in the 1990 Census, and warns that similar results are possible in Census 2000. Without statistical adjustment, the report cautions, health and education programs that serve the nation’s children could be underfunded. The Census Monitoring Board is a bipartisan board that monitors the Census Bureau’s conduct of the 2000 Census[…]

With political representation and federal funds at stake, the battle is likely to escalate soon. Although the deadline for release of the final census figures is April 1, the data could be released as early as March; action on the decision to adjust could come sooner.

Read more from this issue.

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Message from the Executive Director

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year, new Congress and new Administration is a busy time under “normal” circumstances. However, as our battle with the COVID-19 pandemic continues and, hopefully, we inch toward some semblance of pre-pandemic life in 2021, we are forced to prioritize what is most important. At COSSA, the crises of the past year have underscored for us the critical importance of our work and mission: “To promote the value of social and behavioral science research to policymakers and the public with the goal of enhancing federal support.” Our efforts over the past year aimed to tell the story of how social and behavioral science can and is helping to address society’s greatest challenges, from the public health crisis to racial injustice, and many others.

With our eyes focused on the future, last month COSSA developed and transmitted a comprehensive report to the incoming Biden-Harris Administration detailing steps that can be taken to support social and behavioral science research and—more importantly—to utilize insights from our sciences to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges confronting our nation. See the article below for details on our recommendations.

Just as we plan our path forward, it is helpful to reflect on where we have been. COSSA is celebrating its 40th birthday in 2021. As part of our look back, we will feature articles from past COSSA Washington Updates throughout the year. This week’s archived article, 107th Congress Opens, Awaits New Administration, dates back to January 15, 2001. I think you will find it interesting—and perhaps sobering—to extent to which we continue to tackle similar challenges twenty years later.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for supporting COSSA these last 40 years, and especially this past year. We are strongest as a community; COSSA could not do what we do without this community.

Warmest wishes for a safe, healthy and happy 2021.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 5), Update, Volume 40

COSSA Issues Recommendations for the Incoming Biden Administration

In December, COSSA transmitted a report to the Biden transition team, Putting Social and Behavioral Science to Work for America: 10 Recommendations to the Biden Administration. The report outlines tangible actions the incoming Administration can take to support the U.S. research enterprise and use social science research in support of evidence-based policy making across three themes: (1) Restore Trust in Science and Government Data, (2) Champion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Science; and (3) Expand the Use of Social and Behavioral Science and Data in Decision-Making. The full document is available on COSSA’s website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 5), Update, Volume 40

January Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on COSSA’s 2021 Policy Priorities

headlines bannerCOSSA members are invited to register for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, January 14 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, followed by a deep dive discussion on COSSA’s recommendations to the Biden Administration as well as COSSA’s legislative priorities for the coming year. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 5), Update, Volume 40

NSF’s Kellina Craig-Henderson Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? post comes from Kellina Craig-Henderson, Deputy Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Craig-Henderson wrote for NSF’s Science Matters blog about her experiences confronting stereotypes as an African American female scientist and about SBE’s new Build and Broaden program, which directs resources to researchers at minority-serving institutions. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Update

FROM THE ARCHIVES: 107th Congress Opens, Awaits New Administration (January 15, 2001)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.

When we last left you, the country was waiting for the Supreme Court to decide the presidential election and the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2001 remained incomplete. In the intervening month, George W. Bush began putting his administration together, and all 13 FY 2001 spending bills finally became law, 21 Continuing Resolutions later and nearly three months into the fiscal year[…]

The 107th Congress opened for business on January 3. Two major situations needed working out. With a net gain of four seats by the Democrats in the election, the Senate ended up divided 50-50. As Vice-President Gore remains in office until January 20, the Democrats are the majority for 17 days. Congressional leaders agreed that Democratic Senators would chair the committees during that period, including a number of hearings on Bush cabinet nominees. Following the inauguration of President-elect Bush and Vice-President-elect Cheney on January 20, the Republicans will have the tie-breaking vote. Republicans will take over as committee leaders, but Democrats fought for and received equal committee representation and staff allotments. Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) will be allowed to break ties in committee votes, allowing, for example, cabinet nominations to move to the Senate floor.

Read more from this issue.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 5), Update, Volume 40

December Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on 2021 Policy Landscape

COSSA members are invited to register for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, December 10 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, followed by a deep dive discussion on the social science policy landscape facing the new Congress and the Biden Administration next year. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

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Posted in Issue 24 (December 8), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

November Headlines to Feature Deep Dive on 2020 Election

headlines bannerCOSSA members are encouraged to sign up for the monthly Headlines webchat on Thursday, November 12 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. The COSSA team will break down the most important social and behavioral science news from the past month, followed by a deep dive discussion on the 2020 election with Costas Panagopoulos, Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University and member of the American Political Science Association’s Election Assistance Task Force. Individuals employed by or affiliated with a COSSA member organization or university can register for the webchat here.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

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Posted in Issue 9 (April 22), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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