Using a qualitative research tool to get more out of the Jeff Sessions testimony.
June 12, 2017
I’ve performed a lot of focus group and other research moderation and analysis in my time.
In my opinion, too many companies use research to “find out” what people are thinking. Good research structure doesn’t ignore biases, it uses them as a research tool.
See, by writing down and discussing the biases we hold IN ADVANCE OF THE RESEARCH ITSELF — it allows good research and interrogation to:
Clarify what our bias is — sometimes even to ourselves.
Communicate this bias to our team members, to probe for agreement and concerns they may have that are deserving of more exploration.
Challenge ourselves to explore that bias within the research we’re doing — both in its substance, and its form. To challenge whether we understand both WHAT people are doing, and WHY they do it.
It’s necessary to do this BEFORE performing the research. That way, if your biases are confirmed, you can choose to go into deeper (or other) topics. If they’re proven incorrect, you have time to adjust your thinking from top to bottom.
In the spirit of this, I invite you to write down what your bias is for the upcoming Jeff Sessions testimony (mine is below.) Note: This doesn’t mean that what’s below will be SAID (after all, the idea is to get to real motivations,) but to hear the testimony, and check if it’s consistent with what is written below.
The important thing is, some things will be incorrect, some correct — but at least you give yourself a clear belief about where you’ve started.
Try it for yourself, I’m curious as to what your biases might be about tomorrow’s hearings, and I hope you’ll find this a simple, handy tool in your day-to-day work.
What my bias is for the testimony and motivations of one Jeff Sessions:
“Sure I lied about my meetings with the Russian ambassador. People (1) told me to do that because it was no big deal(2). But, as this administration starts to unfold, I’m starting to recognize that there are many, many more dealings(3) that I’m not comfortable with. Things that make me uncomfortable, frankly, because they’re going to bring me down.(4)
Given the choice of staying in this administration and enacting some signature legislation and policy that I think would change the world more in line with my ultra conservative principles(5), or at least in line with my party affiliation (6), I realize that I need to be on the right side of what’s happening.(7)
In addition, if this goes much further, I’m in big trouble. So, as to avoid being implicated I’m going to tell what I know(8), in an open session, which will implicate some members of this administration who are not me, but who I have knowledge about. In the end, I’m testifying not so much to get to the truth, but to protect my legacy. I want to make sure in my declining years, that I’m remembered as a good public servant, and not as a criminal on the wrong side of the law.(9)
I offer this testimony as a way to try to preserve a legacy, rather than any substantive rejection of what was done.”(10)
(1) Steve Bannon’s Vampire Army.
(2) And hell, I’m just the Attorney General. What do I know?
(3) The breaking of the emoluments clause and oh so much more.
(4) Who knew that perjury was a problem for Attorneys General? I’m from Alabama. We don’t let that kind of “Yankee thinking” bother us.
(5) The reintroduction of Voting Rights Laws, deportation of non-whites, and the reestablishment of the War on Drugs, putting more and more people of color at a disadvantage.
(6) See (5) above, leading to fewer minority (read: Democrat) voters.
(7) I mean, you know, relatively.
(9) They won’t tear my statue down, like they’re done for so many of my Confederate serving friends.