Remote Coding: a Future Idea for the Prosecution Project

This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.

Remote Coding: a Future Idea for the Prosecution Project

Meekael Hailu

As I have been with the Prosecution Project now for roughly 5 months, I feel like I have developed a great feel for the overall workings of the project itself, although I have always wanted to challenge myself to learn more. As we round out the end of the semester, my mind begins to wonder how far this project will move into the future, and what exactly we can do as a coding operation to excel its development.

As I began to think about the possible steps of growth the project can take, I thought of coding expansion. With a proper technique and educational foundation in how to properly code in this project, I fundamentally believe that this project can expand past just the institutional confines wherever Dr.Loadenthal is teaching at a particular time. With a fully-fleshed out application process that is selective, I feel as if that students at various institutions all across the country can join to be a part of the project, just as long as they meet the requirements to join.

This vision would require coding training, from start to finish, to be completely online. There could be some coding quizzes during the training process to verify that the instructions that are being given are being applied correctly. In addition to that if possible, the individual in the HR position could hold weekly or bi-weekly video calls with the newly brought-on coders to check in with and to help them throughout the process of being trained in how to properly contribute to the database.

In addition to that, for this future network that would be built remotely at various institutions across the country, there would be multiple assigned readings that would act as lecture replacements for the people who cannot physically attend a classroom-style instruction for the project. An example of the possible readings that could replace what we would learn in class. One example of this being utilized could be from the book titled Empirical Political Analysis.

This book breaks down the basics that will be needed for the coding process, especially for beginner coders that might be brought onto this project in the future. It states:

“Whether the subject of the research is elections, political advertisements, news accounts, organizations, or anything else, you must be aware of the importance of the selection process and its implications for the meaning and usefulness of your research” (Rich, 2018).

This would be a brilliant piece of literature to require for the onboarding process. This is an idea I feel is something that with the proper preparation can be done with flying colors. This project produces the more hands are involved in the process itself.

With this idea, obviously, there would be more stringent policies for misuse of the project’s information and database. This ties back into the necessary component of having meetings with the coders to develop some sort of accountability system for coders that are not being actively monitored in a traditional classroom sense. An incentive that can be offered for academically proficient students that we would want as a part of this project is academic credit at their respective institutions if they offered that for students.

Also, there can eventually be individuals at these various institutions who have created their own the Prosecution Project chapter, and there can be a designed hierarchy and specific criteria that must be met for individuals who are filling those positions. For example, if someone has just joined, they would be classified as a beginner coder and be subject to the guidelines that we apply to them, and there could also be new positions that are developed in tandem with the remote coder system to ensure that the coding process runs seamlessly from beginning to end. A position like the one just described could be called a “data comber” someone who combs through the data that is submitted to us remotely just to make sure all the stringent criteria that are applied to them is met.

The longer I am involved with tPP, the more excited I become with where it seems to end up going. I am happy I was able to be part of such an organization, and I know developments like these are only a certain amount of time away.


Rich, R. C. (2018). Empirical political analysis: quantitative and qualitative research methods. New York, NY: Routledge.

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