DRG Learning CoP: Chain of Harm Applied Research Approach: Localizing and Strengthening Information Integrity Programming

October 20, 2023

Fri | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST

IFES’s Chain of Harm is an evidence-based tool for practitioners to defend against the erosion of information integrity, providing a methodology for practitioners to map threats and interventions along the five stages. The Chain of Harm Applied Research Approach is a model for practitioners to create more contextualized and localized programming through a participatory process that is more responsive to the needs of traditionally marginalized groups as it centers their perspectives throughout. This presentation will showcase how practitioners can implement the Chain of Harm methodology to better understand how coordinated disinformation campaigns intersect with and exploit identity-based tensions in local contexts. Local survey and focus group data collected through the Chain of Harm methodology serve as the foundation for the methodology. 

Using this information, the Chain of Harm Applied Research Approach provides a facilitation framework for Program Mapping Workshop participants to map how harmful content affects underrepresented or traditionally marginalized groups at each stage of the Chain of Harm: 1) the actors producing harmful content; 2) the messages themselves; 3) the modes of dissemination; 4) the interpreters being confronted with harmful content; and 5) the ultimate risks that manifest. Participants then construct a narrative from survey and focus group findings that centers the perspectives and experiences of different groups, especially those who are marginalized. As they encounter and interpret information, it fuels a process through which they identify potential intervention points where programming can disrupt and dampen risk to those groups. Then, localized adaptations to current programming are co-created and refined. This process ultimately leads to discrete localized, contextualized, and co-designed programming streams that are responsive to the needs of marginalized communities. 

Throughout the implementation of the Applied Research Approach, we have also discovered the Chain of Harm’s growing utility in other areas such as rapid threat modeling and as a standalone framework for thinking about evaluative metrics. We will introduce future use cases for exploration and discussion with the group.