Questions about tPP?

Are we partisan?

No. tPP is a non-partisan, ideologically-neutral, empirically-driven, transparent data collection project. We aim to foster data-informed conversations about the way in which political violence occurs and is prosecuted in the contemporary US. The data can be used to make all manner of political, ideological, and criminological arguments which is why we aim to make it available. Our only agenda is that by making data more available for analysis, we can better inform policymakers, journalists, academics, activists, and other scholars on issues of political violence and the criminal justice system.

Who owns the data?

tPP is an open-source data project that aims to make data available as widely and transparently as possible. The data is the product of countless hours of labor from hundreds of individuals. Team members agree to a Restricted Data Use Agreement (RDUA) at the beginning of the project which outlines the intent regarding data ownership. The data belongs to all of us. On a legal-policy level, its management is the responsibility of a “restricted data investigator”, sometimes called a primary investigator, and “principal investigators” made up of our leadership team.

What is our institutional status?

tPP is an independent, non-institutionally affiliated project, governed by the volunteers who staff it. While tPP operated out of Miami University 2017-2020, we have functioned without an institutional sponsor by drawing from researchers at a variety of institutions since Spring 2020. The Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA), housed at Georgetown University, is the fiscal sponsor of tPP and assists with collecting donations for tPP and using these funds to cover the cost of accessing federal court records in jurisdictions where the project is not exempt from fees. PJSA does not assist in the operations or governance of tPP beyond allowing tPP to function as a registered nonprofit—and is a function of bureaucratic convenience. This status is necessary, for example, to obtain cloud storage space for the project.

Questions for those interested in joining tPP?

What is the time commitment to work with tPP?

In order to join as a team member, you need to be able to budget 3 hours per week and we ask that team members stay for a minimum of 10 months. Team members meet one another every 2 weeks, and with the entire team once per month.

Do I need to be a student to work with tPP?

No. While many of our team members have been undergraduate students, many have been graduate/Ph.D. students, or professionals working in the field.

Can I get course credit for my work with tPP?

Yes. If you are attending a credit-earning institution (e.g., college or university), you can typically earn course credit through independent study, internship, co-op, practicum, capstone, or similar programs. Some schools require applications, research proposals, measured check-ins, mid-point or post-work evaluations, etc. Our team is happy to work with students to make these requirements as simple as possible. It is always best to plan ahead with your institution and work directly with a member of the faculty who will be needed to register the class.

Can I get paid to work on tPP?

Yes…or maybe. Some universities offer students stipends, honorariums, awards, or other forms of compensation for engaging with research, working for a nonprofit, or volunteering. For example, Georgetown University has this program. The availability of these programs is specific to your institution or employer, but many tPP researchers have found ways to use their research time to earn some money. Alternatively, if you are in it for the long haul, you can work to write a grant to receive payment for your work and that of others. Grant writing is a key skill for many jobs—academic, governmental, and professional—and your ability to secure a grant could be a major boost to a resume or CV. On par with a major peer-reviewed, academic publication, receipt of a successful grant is likely one of the most distinguishing things you can add to a resume/CV and besides putting money in your pocket, can be a real professional status boost. Grants can also be a lot of work, but the payoff is major, often hundreds of thousands of dollars (e.g., $30,000 per researcher per year) to fairly compensate teams building knowledge. They can take a year or more, but if you’re just starting out, and you’re thinking of staying around, it’s one of the most strategic decisions you can make. If you’re interested, get in touch.

What can I get out of this?

We try to not think of things in such extractive, transactional terms….but quite a lot. For starters, you can learn a lot about qualitative research, team-based projects, criminal justice, political violence, and law, not to mention executive functioning skills like time management, project workflows, team-based learning, etc. These are things you will absorb simply by putting time in. You can also leverage these skill areas in job applications, graduate school, internships, awards, fellowships, and other opportunities that need something to help distinguish your resume/CV. You can meet interesting people at institutions around the world, and help to build a collectively-owned resource that helps bring better data to more people for more informed decision-making. You can work directly with lawyers, journalists, senior academics, and others through the advisory board and external data requests, and you can try your hand at real investigative work and open-source intelligence efforts.

What can I put into it?

As much as you want. You can use tPP to meet a college course requirement, pre-code the minimum number of cases bi-weekly, skip optional meetings, exclude yourself from special projects, and quit after your initial one-year commitment is over. If you did this, we would not hold it against you, and would be happy to serve as a professional reference. On the other hand, the people who have gotten the most out of tPP—the most intellectually, professionally, and academically—found a way to specialize their focus. Some focused on particular political groups—eco-terrorists, militias, anti-abortion militants—or certain demographic areas—dual citizens, racial groups, geographic regions—or functions of the project—auditing, training, updating cases, or analyzing data. If you decide to find an area of the project you would like to explore further, I am happy to help you utilize the project and its data in whatever way is helpful. You can put into tPP as much as you would like. You can think about us only during the 3-hours per week it takes to complete your work, or it can be something you think about in your down time. Some have put in a few days, and many of us have been at it for years. Many have come and made the project so much better by their insight, labor, fortitude, brilliance, and care. I hope you will be one of these tPPers.

Questions for those interested in accessing tPP data?

Who can request data from tPP?

Anyone. We have fulfilled data requests from journalists, lawyers, policymakers, government officials, students, activists, academics, and a diverse range of practitioners working in fields such as criminal justice, intelligence, social services, immigration, public health, and many others.

What is the cost to receive data from tPP?

Nothing. We do not charge any money to receive data. Our team is happy to create customized data sets based on the needs of the requestor, and this concierge service comes at no cost. More information on data requests can be found here.