USF's WebQuest 

Inside the Interest Group

John Holloman

 

Introduction:

All of our lives we are constantly being bombarded by information.  Be it doing nothing more than watching cartoons on TV, or listening to music.  Everyone has an agenda and is trying to influence our minds.  One day while you and some of your friends are hanging out you realize that there is a great wrong in the world.  You all band together in order to make your voices heard.  Your determination is great, and you are excited about the possibilities that lay before you. 

Task:

As you and your comrades sit down to lay the frame work for your interest group you realize that you're getting in pretty deep.  What at first seemed a simple matter has been complicated by logistics, however you will not be discouraged.  You and your partners must lay out the entire ground work for the interest group you have created. 

Process:

Your group will have to cover all of the bases in organizing an interest group. 

To accomplish these tasks your group will research other established interest groups websites in order to find real world examples.  You will also utilize information from the class lectures.  Be prepared to throughly explain all the workings of your interest group. 

Your group will be divided into three parts:

MEMBERSHIP CHAIR 

The membership chair is responsible for outlining how membership in the interest group will work.  It is their job to choose, with the help of the other group members, how they will entice people to join their group.  They need to address what membership dues will be and what the members of the group will get for paying those dues.  All incentives need to be covered. 

The paper should include the following

  1. member incentives
  2. will there be member lists published
  3. membership dues

All of these items need to be accompanied with an explanation. 

TACTICIAN

It is the responsibility of the tactician, with the help of the other group members, to determine the groupís methods for accomplishing their goals.  Do not forget to cover methods for swaying public opinion, and the means to reach out to the government.  Be very specific.  I.E. will you hire a lobbyist or will you go to a lobbying firm?

Paper must include

  1. tactics for swaying public opinion
  2. Tactics for influencing government
  3. How will you work after a goal is accomplished

 Remember be specific and offer explanations for your actions.

ORGANIZING OFFICER

The Organizer is the person who has to tie it all together.  The organizer, with the help of the other two members will determine how they are going to accomplish all of their goals.  They will offer up ideas for fundraising outside of membership dues.  They will also work to balance the feaseability of the plan.  I.E. can the group afford to give out a lot of member benefits and hire lots of lobbyists.  If so where will this money come from.  Also will the group operate in the legal or illegal spectrum. 

Paper must include

  1. What trade offís the group is making.  I.E. did you sacrifice benefits to afford a lobbyist.
  2. How will other funding be acquired?
  3. will the group operate legally or illegally.

Remember explanations for actions are very important.  Your actions must be explained fully. 

Each group member will be required to be a part of the presentation and will also required to submit a one page paper.  Details are included in the specific instructions

Resources:

Here is a good list of Current interest groups from which to base the structure of your interest group.

Evaluation:

Item Poor Fair Good Excellent
Paper Paper is either not completed or shows a total lack of effort and does not meet requirements outlined

 

Paper meets only half of the required elements.  Arguments are not well defended.  General Lack of effort is show.

 

Paper covers all of the requirements however some arguments are weakly supported

 

Paper covers all requirements.  Arguments are well defended and there are few spelling and grammar errors.

 

Presentation Presentation is either undone or there is a distinct lack of effort and much of the required information is missing Presentation is sloppy and unrefined.  Material is poorly covered but some content is there. Presentation flows smoothly.  Presentation covers a good portion of the material but lacks depth. Presentation is well refined and all information is presented clearly and all questions are answered well.

Conclusion:

By the end of this activity group members should all have a in depth understanding of the workings of an interest group including membership incentives and tactics.  Students will be able to point out the strengths and weaknesses of chosen incentives and tactics in accomplishing their goals. 

Congratulations!

If accomplished properly you know now how your voice can not only affect government but society as well.