This section should be used after all the data for your PAR project has been collected.  It will help to turn the data that was collected into concrete research findings and policy recommendations.  The findings and policy recommendations will serve as the foundation of the report that you will write. This section is designed with activities that will enable members of your organization to guide the process of analyzing data, crafting research findings, understanding and debating different policies and crafting policy recommendations for your report.

Activity 5.1

Activity: 5.1 Using Data to Create Research Findings

Purpose of Activity:

The purpose of this activity is to educate participants about the relationship between data and research findings.  Participants will also create research findings from the data that has been collected for your PAR project.

By the End of Activity Participants Will:

  • Understand the relationship between data and research findings
  • Create research findings out of the data that has been collected

Before this Activity Participants Will Need to:

Be informed about your research project

Before this Activity the Facilitator Will Need to:

Compile a list of the raw data you have collected (such as percentages and quotes), print them out, and cut them into individual strips.

Tools Needed

Tool 5.1: Sample Research Data and Findings for Matching Activity (cut into individual segments, with data and findings separated).

Materials Needed:

Butcher Paper


Key Terms:

Research Finding




Intended Audience:

Members who have been actively involved in the research project

Time Needed:

1 Hour

Part I. Understanding Data and Research Findings (30 Minutes)

Facilitator Instructions:

1. Before you begin the activity, take the research findings from the handout and tape them up around different parts of the room (you can also write the findings on butcher paper).

2. Provide context for the group: explain the focus of the research and what you have done so far in the PAR process.

3. Frame the activity: today we will be learning about research findings and how they relate to data.  Our goal is to begin to create research findings from the data that we have collected.

4. Popcorn questions: Who has an idea of what a research finding is? Who can describe what data is? How is a research finding different than data? Record responses on butcher paper. Compare responses with the info below:

Research Finding: is a conclusion made based on the data collected during the research process.  A finding is short and to the point and allows you to tell a story with your data.

Data: consists of the raw quantitative (numbers) or qualitative (stories) information you find through your research. Data is used to create research findings.

5. Give the group a few minutes to walk around and look at the research findings posted around the room.  Ask the group: What do you notice about these findings?  What do they have in common?  Remind the group that findings are short and focused and tell a clear story about your data.

6. Next, explain that in order to deepen our understanding of the relationship between research findings and data, you will be splitting the group up into pairs and giving each pair a few pieces of quantitative and qualitative data. Each group will then have to walk around the room and match the piece of data with a research finding that it supports or explains.

7. Go through one example with the entire group.  Answer any questions that arise.

8. Give participants 5-10 minutes to walk around the room and place their data.

9. Next come back together as a big group and go through each of the research findings taped up on the wall.  Ask each group to explain why they placed their data next to the finding.  Make sure all the data corresponds to the correct finding and answer any questions that arise.

Part II. Creating Your Own Research Findings (30 Minutes)

Facilitator Instructions:

  1. Explain to the group that during this part of the activity you will be creating your own research findings based on the data that your group collected.
  2. Split participants into groups of 3-4.
  3. Give each small group one or more piece of quantitative or qualitative data from your research (that you prepared in advance).
  4. Give each small group 5-10 minutes to write down one or more research finding that relates to the data that they are given.
  5. After each group is done, go around the room and have each group read and explain the research finding they created. Record each finding on butcher paper. Be sure to create time for feedback and questions between each group.
  6. Debrief and keep the findings for a later activity.

Activity 5.2

Activity: 5.2 Understanding Policy Recommendations & Targets

Purpose of Activity:

The purpose of this activity is to familiarize participants with different categories of policy recommendations and the government institutions that create and change policy in order to prepare your group to craft policy recommendations for your report.

By the End of Activity Participants Will:

  • Review what a policy recommendation is and what it is not
  • Learn about categories of policy recommendations
  • Review examples of policy recommendations that other organizations have used for PAR projects
  • Learn about and create a diagram of key policy targets for your issue at the Federal, State and Local levels

Before this Activity Participants Will Need to:

Be familiar with the overall design and timeline of the research project

Tools Needed:

Tool 5.2: Policy Recommendations Matching Activity (pre-cut into individual examples)

Tool 5.3: Levels of Government Chart

Materials needed:

Butcher Paper


Sticky tack or tape

Key Terms:

Federal Government

State Government

Local Government


Intended Audience:


Time Needed:

1 hour 40 minutes

Part I. Understanding Types of Policy Recommendation (1 hour)

Facilitator Instructions:

1. Provide some context of your PAR project and the campaign it is connected to.  Explain that this activity will explore different categories and examples of public policy as we prepare to create policy recommendations for our report.

2. Put up two pieces of butcher paper.  On one piece write, “The city council and Mayor should pass a law mandating that all workers are paid a living wage.”  On the second piece of paper write, “All workers deserve a living wage.”

3. Ask the group: What is the difference between these two statements? Which of these is a policy recommendation and which is not?  Why?  What is a policy recommendation?  Popcorn responses and record on butcher paper.

4. Summarize what has been said and explain:

Policy Recommendation: is a solution that you propose that will make a systematic change to a problem you have identified through your research.  It is specific and is targeted to a particular person or entity with the power to make the change that you propose.

5. Write 5 categories below on butcher paper. Introduce and discuss/clarify the definitions and ask for examples for each category.  Explain that these are not the only categories of recommendations but that we will be using these categories for this activity.

Five Categories of Policy Recommendations:

Legislative: involves changes to existing laws or introducing new laws.  These laws can be local laws, state laws or federal laws.

  • Example: The Mayor and City Council should pass a living wage law.

Enforcement: calls for the enforcement or implementation of laws that already exist on the books but may not be implemented in practice.

  • Example: The Department of Labor should enforce the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.

Budgetary: calls for funding changes, such as increased or decreased funding for a particular program or community or opposition to budget cuts.

  • Example: The Governor should allocate $20 million dollars for housing for people living with HIV/AIDS in the state budget.

Oversight: calls for monitoring and oversight over a particular issue, agency or program from either governmental or citizen committees or individuals.

  • Example: The Mayor should appoint an independent monitor to oversee the New York Police Department.

Democratic Participation: calls for increased public and citizen participation or democracy in an issue or government body.

  • Example: The Mayor should appoint a new Charter Revision commission, which includes low-income people of color, to revise the city charter.
  1. Next put five sheets of butcher paper up in different parts of the room with one of the five policy recommendation categories above written on the top of the sheet.
  2. Next split participants into two groups. Give each group half of the sample policy recommendations from Tool 5.2 “Policy Recommendation Matching Activity.”
  3. Instruct each group to read and discuss each sample policy recommendation and decide which category it fits into. After they’ve made a decision have each group tape the recommendation onto the corresponding butcher paper sheets placed in different parts of the room.
  4. After each group has finished discussing and placing each of their sample policy recommendations, come back together as a big group. Go through each of the categories and read off each of the policy recommendations placed on the sheet. Ask the group that placed it there to explain why they chose that category.  If an answer is wrong see if anyone can figure out the correct answer.  Make sure each policy recommendation is placed in the right category (use the end of T5.2: Sample Policy Recommendations Cheat Sheet for correct answers).  Discuss each sample in each category until you’re finished.
  5. Debrief the activity. What did participants learn about policy recommendations? Were there any samples that were particularly hard to place? Why? Were there any that could fit into more than one category?

Part II. Understanding Targets for Policy Change (40 minutes)

Facilitator Instructions:

1) Remind the group of the focus on your research project and some of the policy recommendations you have developed.

2) Frame the activity: today we will discuss the institutions and individuals that have power over the policies that we are trying to win.  We’ll call these institutions and individuals our targets.  At the end of this activity we will have created a diagram of the targets for the policies we are trying to win.

3) Popcorn questions to the group: Where do we go when we want to demand a policy change for our community? What institutions or individuals do we target? What are the three major levels of government that have power to create and change policies? (Federal, State, Local).

4) Next split into three groups. Hand out Tool 5.3: Levels of Government Chart.  Remind the group about the three levels of government (Federal, State, Local). Make sure each group has butcher paper and markers.

5) Give each small group 10 minutes to 1) brainstorm all of the possible institutions, agencies, or individuals that could be targets for the policy your organization is working on at the federal, state and local level. Then 2) come up with a visual diagram or drawing, with as much detail as possible, to represent the possible policy targets you discussed.

6) Come back together as a big group and have each small group present and explain their drawings at the front of the room. Be sure to discuss questions that come up and to fact check the diagrams created. (As a facilitator you might want to create a list of key target institutions in advance of the session that you want to be sure are represented on the diagrams).

7) Keep the diagrams for use in later activities.

Activity 5.3

Activity: 5.3 Creating Effective Policy Recommendations

Purpose of Activity:

The purpose of this activity is to create effective policy recommendations that are connected to the data that you have collected through the PAR process.

By the End of Activity Participants Will:

Brainstorm policy recommendations for your PAR project

Before this Activity Participants Will Need to:

Be informed about your research project

Be familiar with the major research findings of the project

Materials needed:

Butcher Paper


Your Research Findings (From Activity 5.1)

Your Policy Target Diagram (From Activity 5.2)

Intended Audience:

Members who have been actively involved in the research project


Time Needed:

1 Hour

Part I. Brainstorming Policy Recommendations (1 hour)

Facilitator Instructions:

1. Introduce that this activity will enable the group to brainstorm policy recommendations for your PAR project.

2. Post the research findings you created in Activity 5.1 on the wall. Review your research findings with the group.  Remind the group that policy recommendations provide solutions to the problems you’ve found and documented through your research.

3. Post your diagram of policy targets on the wall and remind participants that each of the policy recommendations that they come up with needs to have a specific target that has the power to create or change the policy they are calling for.

4. Split participants in small groups.

5. Remind the participants of the categories of policy recommendations: legislative, budgetary, enforcement, oversight, and democratic participation and point to the examples posted around the room.
6. Give each group 5-10 minutes to brainstorm 2-3 policy recommendations for the each of the categories.  Remind the groups to connect the recommendations to the findings.  If some of the categories do not seem relevant to your project, just ask the participants to make a note of that in their small group discussions.
 Tell the small groups to be prepared to present the following to the larger group:

  • The policy recommendation
  • Explain which category they placed it in and why
  • Explain who the target is and why
  • Explain what information is still needed to make it a strong policy recommendation

7. Come back together as a big group and have each small group present what they came up with.8. After all the groups have presented ask the group to consider the following questions:

  • Which recommendations seem most in line with the vision of our organization and the priorities of our members?
  • Which recommendations will have the biggest impact for our membership?
  • Which recommendations seem the most winnable in the short term?
  • Which recommendations seem like more long term fights?
  • Which recommendations are going to be the most difficult to win?

9. Mark the butcher paper to record which recommendations that seem to be high priority (have biggest impact, are most in line with vision) and those that are short term, which are long term and which seem most difficult to pursue.

10. Ask the group if they feel good about what they’ve come up with? Is there anything that is missing? Is there anything you haven’t considered, or need to work on further?

11. Explain that these can be used as a starting point to develop recommendations for your report.

Tool 5.1

Tool: 5.1 Sample Research Findings and Data for Matching Activity

5.1 En

  • Finding: Police are arresting people for syringe possession, even when they participate in lawful syringe access programs.
  • Data: 71% of survey respondents had been charged with unlawful syringe possession.
  • Data: Of those arrested for syringe possession, 9 out of 10 people were carrying an official card, saying they were part of a syringe exchange program.
  • Data: “I’ve known about people getting arrested just for having syringes in their property. I’ve been arrested and as soon as the police have asked me, “do you have anything in your pocket”, and I say, “Yes, syringes,” before they even let me explain, they cuff me….[meanwhile] I have everything in my pocket and everything in my wallet that say it’s OK for me to carry syringes.”
  • Finding: Downtown Brooklyn residents want new and better grocery store options.
  • Data: 84% of respondents wish they had more options for grocery stores in their communities.


  • Finding: Demolition of Public Housing results in the destruction of communities and hardship in the lives of those that are displaced.
  • Data: “I had a good friend that lived in Scott Carver Homes (public housing development)…she told me when she had to move out it was like leaving a piece of her behind because for 26 years that is all she knew.  Talking to her about that you could feel the anger and hurt in her voice.”

  • Finding: The health of many workers and residents suffering from 9/11-related health problems is not improving.
  • Data: 88% state their health symptoms may have been caused or worsened by 9/11.
  • Data: 81% with 9/11-related symptoms have seen a doctor concerning their symptoms.

  • Finding: Chinatown residents have been subject to increased neglect, harassment, and displacement as gentrification has increased.
  • Data: 73 percent of Chinatown tenants reported experiencing harassment from their landlords.
  • Data: 71% of Chinatown residents surveyed lived with one or more serious housing violation (including little or no heat, little or no hot water, lack of running water, leaking pipes, collapsing ceilings, exposed wires, and leaking gas) in the past 12 months.

  • Finding: Police are arresting people for syringe possession, even when they participate in a lawful syringe access program and have documentation proving it.
  • Data: “I’ve been arrested and as soon as the police have asked me, do you have anything in your pocket and I say yes, syringes, before they even let me explain, they cuff me me…I have everything in my wallet to say it’s OK for me to carry syringes.”

  • Finding: The vast majority of restaurant employers do not provide health-related benefits such as health insurance or paid sick days for their employees.
  • Data: 72% of restaurant workers reported working while sick.
  • Data: Only 32% of restaurant workers sought medical care due to an on-the-job industry.

  • Finding: Domestic workers lack paid sick and personal days.
  • Data: 57 % of domestic workers surveyed do not receive any paid sick days.
  • Data: 71% of domestic workers surveyed do not receive any paid personal days.

  • Finding: Many domestic workers do not earn enough income to meet their basic needs.
  • Data: 93% of domestic workers were found to be living under the “low-wage” level.
  • Data: 17% of domestic workers were found to be living below the federal poverty line.

  • Finding: The vast majority of public housing residents do not participate in the official resident participation system at the local or city levels.
  • Data: Only 14 percent of survey respondents voted in the last RA election at their development.
  • Data: 1 in 2 residents did not even know that their housing development had a resident association, and only 1 in 5 residents participated in their resident association.

  • Finding: Immigrant and limited English-proficiency New York residents are living in unsafe and unhealthy housing conditions yet do not know there is a city agency, HPD, designed to help address their housing needs.
  • Data: 60% of Immigrant and limited English-proficiency New Yorkers surveyed reported to living with one or more critical housing code violation in the past 12 months.
  • Data: 62% of respondents did not know that there is a governmental agency, HPD, dedicated to meeting their housing needs.

  • Finding: Residents of public housing have no decision-making powers over policies that effect their buildings and homes.
  • Data: “We [resident boards] are puppet boards. You really don’t care what we have to say anymore because you go ahead and you do what you want to do, and then come to us to say it’s a done deal.”
  • Data: “I understand what you are saying about the different roles and responsibilities of NYCHA, Congress and HUD, but what we’re saying is: Who do we go to if NYCHA is not listening to us?”

Tool 5.2

Tool: 5.2 Policy Recommendation Matching Activity

5.2 En

Recommendations come from Reports released by various community organizations.  Cut into 14 separate slips of paper for Activity.

1. Congress and President Obama should allocate funding for an expanded health center to treat 9/11 affected workers and residents.

2. Congress and President Obama should provide resources to track all reported health problems related to 9/11 that are not currently tracked.

3. The NY City Council and Mayor should pass Introduction 648 (2007) a bill that would establish a right to counsel for low-income seniors facing eviction.

4. The NY City Council and Mayor  should pass the Small Business Preservation Act (Jackson Bill) which helps small businesses negotiate their leases with property owners to enable them to remain in gentrifying communities.

5. The Mayor and City Council ensure ongoing monitoring of law enforcement practices around syringe access programs.

6. Each NY City councilmember should set aside 10% of their discretionary funds for a participatory budget process in their district.

7. The NYC council should pass legislation to impose a tax on all residential properties that are completely constructed and sit completely vacant for more than one year in order to help finance the conversion of vacant buildings into low income housing.

8. The Mayor and the NYC Economic Development Corporation should implement the People’s Plan for development of the East River Waterfront ensuring that the community’s input is guaranteed now and in the future.

9. The Department of Labor (DOL) should ensure that the Domestic Workers Bill of rights is being adequately enforced so that workers can exercise their right to overtime pay and a paid day of rest.

10. The Attorney General should enforce the immigrant services provider law to prevent predatory and fraudulent services aimed at immigrants.

11. HRA should hire external groups to monitor contracts, build capacity of vendors, and conduct long-term evaluation of the impact of programs.

12. The Mayor should establish a public/ private commission that includes government entities, advocates and HRA clients that has the power to approve and suggest changes to the renewal of all HRA contracts.

Answer Key—Policy Recommendations Matching Activity

1. Budgetary2. Budgetary/Oversight
3. Legislative4. Legislative
5. Oversight6. Budgetary
7. Legislative8. Participation
9. Enforcement10. Enforcement
11. Oversight12. Oversight

Tool 5.3

Tool: 5.3 Levels of Government Chart

5.3 En

Additional Resources:

For a listing of NYC State Agencies:
For a listing of New York State Agencies:
For a listing of Federal Agencies:
To view UJC’s Participatory Research reports in partnership with various organizations: