Case Studies

As a tree grows in nature, there is no one right way for the truck to form, the rings to concentrate around the core, for the branches to spread, or for flowers to form. Just as a tree is free to grow as it should, so we think the same for opinions and perspectives. There is no right answer. There is no one right way of thinking. There is no one point of view. We look at all the twists and turns of a tree in nature and marvel at its beauty amidst its surroundings. With survey research data we approach consideration of results and analysis of these results similarly. We revel in the way in which branches of data stem from the core and provide new ways of thinking and doing. Each data point becomes a different hue and flower to behold. For some highlights of our work, please read the case studies below. Also please check out our News and Noteworthy section also in this web site. 

Students Become the Teachers: Opinions and Perspectives on K-12 Education in 2023

How do Adults 18+ and Parents of K-12 Students Compare and Contrast on Education Today? Do they yearn to go back in time, travel back to the future, or keep rolling along, all systems go, toward new developments in K-12 Education?

In 1985, leveraging the power of a DeLorean, Doc Brown and Marty McFly traveled back to 1955, to Hill Valley High School, and Marty was surrounded by high school through the eyes of his parents. From 1955 Hill Valley to 1985 Hill Valley to all of the cities, towns, valleys and beyond in 2024, times have changed in many ways but have remained stable in others. Dress code, expressions, taste in music and favorite movies have evolved, but we still care about our children’s education.

EdChoice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to understanding and pursuing a K–12 education system that empowers every family to choose the schooling environment that fits their children’s needs best.  EdChoice and its legacy – pioneered by Milton and Rose D. Friedman –  rest upon three pillars: 1) Research and Thought Leadership; 2) Training and Outreach; 3) and Policy and Advocacy.

It is this combined legacy of research, thought leadership and advocacy that is reflected in the annual, “Schooling in America (SIA) Survey[CR1] ” that EdChoice conducted with Braun Research for the eleventh time, in 2023. The purpose and research issues at hand were, at a blue-sky level, to understand the opinions and perspectives of both the general public writ large as well as parents of school-age children. Most specifically, we wanted to know what respondents think about K-12 education in the United States.

Each year we conduct this study – an essential microcosmic look at K-12 education –, we strive to trend similar questions so that we understand the change (or not) from year over year. However, we add or remove questions according to the climatic change of political, social, economic, cultural and K-12 educational dynamics at the time. During and since the Pandemic years, it has become increasingly expedient to measure new trends and absorb the ‘new normal’ amongst school types by painting a portrait of K-12 education and specific colors in the landscape. We typically collect data pertaining to various issues of importance to the respondent, cost per child to attend public school, and, amongst parents, reasons parents place their children in different types of schools (e.g., public, private, homeschool, charter). In the 2023 survey we asked questions around school safety, preferred school and class size, and school switching.  

In order to assess all of these areas and produce helpful data outcomes that EdChoice could use to help colorize the public’s opinions on K-12 education. Research was responsible for data collection of a survey instrument (designed by EdChoice). The fielding took place from April 18, 2023, to May 2, 2023.  We obtained a total of N=1,224 Adults 18+ in our General Population poll, and a total of 1,504 Parents of K-12 school-children. Each of these samples was nationally-representative.  Each of these groups was fielded using a mixed methodological approach (telephone and online). We also realized sub-samples of African-American Parents (n=421) and Hispanic Parents (n=426) in our research.

Upon conclusion of fielding, we ran cross-tabulations, produced data files, and created summary as well as methodological reports and dispositions that EdChoice utilized in their own reporting and release of study data.  Data outcomes relate to:

  • K-12 education and its direction for the future;
  • Degree of satisfaction with children’s respective experiences in schools;
  • Grading systems (similar to a ‘pass/fail’ and anything in between) of local schools;
  • Estimates of school and class sizes;
  • Reasons for school choice;
  • School safety;
  • Funding of schools and estimates of how much is required per child;
  • School-switching;
  • Gradations of support for school choice;
  • Educational policies (e.g., vouchers, ESAs, etc.); and
  • Health levels and characterization of schools

Where do all roads lead?

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” exclaimed Dr Emmett Brown from ‘Back to the Future.’

We might not yet be road-free, but we still travel them to get from Point A to Point B. And we certainly have the metaphorical and fictional roads (e.g., ‘all roads paved with…,’ ‘Yellow-Brick Road,’ etc.). And we have roads that our children travel from the time they are young through college and beyond as they navigate the straightaways and exits of school. It will certainly be up to our youth to help guide the way. Even once we are road-free, the path of learning is always open, infinitely ahead of us.

For more details please see this link that highlights the EdChoice report focused on top findings that emerged from the 2023 National Schooling in America (SIA) Survey.

Author: Cynthia Miller, M.B.A., Braun Research

“Non-profits: Doing Important Work and Measuring the Value of Communications”

Effectiveness, Influence, Relevancy and the Powerful Function of Words ‘at Sea’…What Do They Say?

“He [Sir W. Clerke) tells me also that the Parliament hath given the Duke of Yorke 120,000l., to be paid him after the 1,250,000l. is gathered upon the tax which they have now given the King. He tells me that the Dutch have lately launched sixteen new ships; all which is great news.” Saturday 28 October 1665 The Diary of Samuel Pepys

The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication or, rather, its more familiar acronym, AMEC (based in London, England), “is the world’s largest media intelligence and insights professional body, representing organisations and practitioners who provide media evaluation and communication research, analysis, evaluation and insights. We are the founding organisation of the prominently accepted, adopted and applied best practice resources including the Barcelona Principles (1.0,2.0 and 3.0) and the Integrated Evaluation Framework and the Measurement Maturity Mapper.  AMEC thinks and operates internationally, forming working groups from different countries to work together on new initiatives, all reinforced by its vibrant Chapters in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa and North America.  The AMEC logo is regarded as an international mark of excellence in the provision of media evaluation and communication research services to clients.”

From its inception in 2013, the AMEC Non-Profit Group has aimed to understand the issues amongst individuals standing at the helm of non-profit organizations and guiding their respective ships across the aqueous landscape of communications dynamics. “Effective measurement, research and insights programs” are the cornerstones of this group. It is fitting, then, that, within these key building blocks in mind, the group undertook a series of separate research projects beginning in 2015 and continuing in 2016 as well as 2017.

By 2017 the public relations (PR) and market research industries had been witnesses to much evolution, and, in this year, the AMEC Non-Profit Group wished to define how relevant communications research/measurement were to non-profit organizations as well as how these organizations were coping with ‘disruptive change’ in the marketplace.

Braun Research, Inc., in partnership with Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and AMEC’s Non-Profit Group, conducted an online study from 14 March 2017, through 28 April 2017, by sending emails to respondents on a global list comprising more than 300 Non-governmental Organization (NGO) communications/PR professionals. The results were scheduled to be presented (and were presented) at the AMEC Global Summit in Bangkok in the Spring of 2017. 

The focused geographies in the study were North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa; we completed N323 surveys amongst the following respondent types:

  • Non-profit organisation, association or charitable entity                                   n138
  • Non-governmental organisation (NGO)                                                               n96
  • International Organisations (including UN agencies and programmes)         n36
  • Non-commercial organisation (NCO)                                                                   n53    

Upon final data review we learned that measurement of communications programmes is an ‘all-systems go,’ ‘full-steam ahead’ mission for non-profits. While some organisations find themselves sailing smoothly through some calm waters, that serenity could be deceiving. For, just as quickly, the same organisations will find themselves maneuvering and negotiating some surges, swells, and rolling waves that otherwise masquerade as lack of staff, lack of time and lack of money.

Data outcomes and conclusions covered:

  • Non-profit type;
  • Importance of measurement of communications to the C-Suite at large and to the CEO specifically;
  • Degree of effectiveness of performance related to the mission (e.g., communications efforts, societal impact, fundraising efforts);
  • New ways to measure and project/target communications endeavors;
  • Leader support of communications efforts;
  • Room for improvement (social media, etc.); and
  • (Respondent) Age effects on communications programmes.

In the seventeenth century shipbuilding was a massive affair that required ‘all hands on deck,’ and the industry this endeavor served was an intricate one, to be sure. The finished product masqued a web of resources all prerequisite inputs to the final ship and all required to ‘communicate’ so that these gigantic structures could be built, firstly, and, ultimately, be seaworthy and equipped to fight. From the shipwright’s inception via dimensions and designs (a sort of ‘blueprint’) to the final piece of elm laid; to the final stopwater over the last joint and nail translating into the finished ship, to its being outfitted for sea, the entire process was assuredly not a simple one. Many voices and factors were at play, and communications travelled a complex path for each individual to know and understand what the other was doing. Designers and builders adhered to basic rules for ship construction, but much of it was judgment – and art. Often eyeballing the keel and beam were the norm, and paper designs were unnecessary.

At sea judgment and art also interplayed with established norms in the seventeenth century. “Admirals made up ad hoc signals to control fleets in battle, and ordered their crews to follow certain signals, but a great deal of battle was improvisation. At least in the British navy, there was no widely adopted book of flag signals until 1790, and signals were not standardized until 1799.” In essence it was science, artistry and ingenuity that were responsible for this huge behemoth operation; communications within this behemoth were just as monumental a feat – on land or sea. Over the centuries, communications and measurement of have evolved considerably. Whether on a warship or in a PR campaign, doing battle constantly calls for the best footholds, model, designs and solid base before any action can take place. Our 2017 project via AMEC, indeed, tested seaworthiness as well navigability of communications amongst respondents. Respondents seem to agree that a consistent measurement plan is essential. And, by extrapolation, we consider that indispensable for smooth sailing in communications marketing today and beyond.

“…he [Mr Deane] hath promised me a draught of the ship he is now building, wherein I am mightily pleased.” Sunday 20 October 1667 The Diary of Samuel Pepys

For more details please see this link that highlights the AMEC report focused on top findings that emerged from the 2017 survey:

Author: Cynthia Miller, M.B.A., Braun Research