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Original Studies

Our original studies are carefully selected, designed, and conducted to provide actionable and insightful data for the animal protection movement.


Every study that we include in our research agenda is based on a multi-stage prioritization and review process.

Research Topics

Prioritization begins by identifying topics where research has the greatest potential to help a large number of animal advocates and, in turn, animals. Faunalytics’ board, with their variety of advocacy backgrounds and experiences, leads the creation of this list, with additional input from senior staff.

Advocate Priorities

Faunalytics’ goal is to conduct high-impact studies, with an emphasis on the needs of animal protection community. Once we have our list of priority topics, we solicit specific research ideas related to those topics from animal advocates, and our own staff and board provide ideas as well, often based on what we learn from conversations with advocates throughout the year. At this point in the process we create a long list of potential study ideas.

Study Shortlist

We review the list of ideas first through the lens of impact, retaining those that are that have a lot of potential to help animals and support animal advocates. After this initial triage, the high-impact ideas are then rated in more detail in terms of their potential for impact, feasibility, cost and timeline, fit with Faunalytics’ research skillset, and more.

Study Features

Finally, Faunalytics’ research staff and board research subcommittee consider the full set of potential studies as a whole, ensuring that we take on a set that we can do well, in a timely manner, and to support as wide a range of advocates and animals as possible.

Final Selections

In the end, we select our new studies from those that rise to the top of the list. Selected projects are listed on our Potential Projects page and soon become Research in Progress.

Priority Research Areas

Faunalytics’ mission is to maximize movement effectiveness by empowering advocates. Therefore, we prioritize research that can have a strong impact for animals for at least one of the following reasons: the research can be used by advocates in multiple cause areas, the topic touches on many animals, it addresses an urgent question, and/or it provides foundational research on an unstudied topic. Projects that address more than one of these four impact types are particularly valuable to the movement as a whole. With our long history of providing research support to animal advocates (since 2000!) we are uniquely positioned to use research as a capacity-building tool.

Topics With Impact In Multiple Cause Areas

These “meta” topics related to capacity-building typically have a more indirect or long-term effect on animals, but achieve their impact through their wide applicability. They are the highest priority for Faunalytics because they build capacity and connections throughout all areas of the animal advocacy movement.

Examples include:

Topics With Impact On A Large Number Of Animals

These topics, while applicable to only subsets of the animal advocacy movement, have the potential to affect a large number of animals, often more directly than those in the previous section.

Examples include:

Topics With Impact Via Urgency And Immediate Use

Because Faunalytics’ original research is not tied to a particular client, stakeholder, or campaign, we are agile and able to address urgent movement needs when they arise. We leave room in our research program for a few projects with quick turnaround and direct impact on high-level decision-makers.

Examples include:

Unstudied Topics With Very High Impact Within A Limited Scope

This category is based on the principle that small amounts of research have high marginal utility in previously unstudied areas. That is, there is a qualitative difference between having zero empirical data on a topic and a small amount of data. In areas where advocates have no data at all, even small-scale, low-cost research can have a long-term impact for animals if it changes how advocates in that area approach a problem.

Examples include:

More Priorities

For more high-impact research topics, you may be interested in lists produced by other animal advocacy organizations. We provide links to several of these on our External Resources page.

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