A Word About Advocacy

Whether you want to advocate for a particular solution or course of action is a deeply personal choice. In some scientific fields, advocating for a specific position is common practice. In others, it raises concerns that advocacy could undermine scientific objectivity or credibility. Whether to advocate for a given solution depends on the audience, your professional role, and the context in which you’re presenting your information. Have you been asked by decision-makers to share your professional judgment? Are specific solutions critical to solving the problem?

In the side-by-side MB example from Kathy Zeller, she chose to advocate for national legislation because she considered that solution necessary to solve the problem. However, many problems can be addressed in ways that don't involve changes in public policy. Word choice matters here, too. Without suggesting that a particular action "should" be taken, you can help decision-makers evaluate options, and use if/then statements to describe the likely consequences of a given action. For example, "If this action is taken (or not taken), then this is the expected outcome." This helps expand the range of possible solutions for decision-makers to consider.

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