TFB for Education, Research, and Discourse

This purpose of this page is to explore what might motivate users to use the TFB, be they nonprofits, professional reporters, academic researchers, bloggers, lobbyists, congressional aids, teachers, or students. Below are some broad types of "questions" that might drive such people to use the site. Of course, some of these questions will be more relevant for certain user groups than others.


Informational questions (where someone is seeking information:

1. Connect the dots questions -- how did s/he vote, who gave him or her contributions, etc...

2. How are the allocations for this bill distributed?

3. What committee process did the bill go through?

4. What arguments were heard in Congress for and against?

5. How much time did the House and Senate have to deliberate on it and was that more or less than the average amount of time for billls?

6. How partisan was the breakdown of votes?


Evaluative questions (where someone is seeking to make a judgment about a bill0:

Someone may basically ask about how wise is the bill, on the basis of ...

1. ideology or morality

2. the likely ease or difficulty of enforcement

3. the fairnesss of the funding distribution

4. the accountability mechanisms built in to the allocation of the funds

5. its importance relative to how much money went to other priorities


Information questions invite information-sharing. Evaluative questions invite debate, seeking of common ground, and consensus building. All of the above questions would be appropriate for investgating one year's federal budget. Far more questions and inquiry possiblities would open up if multiple years of budgets were available.


I think it would be a useful exercise to think through some scenarios of how different user groups would select and apply these questions to a "vertical slice" issue like campaign finance reform.


Please add more if something comes to your mind...

(Dan Z)