Human rights organizations (HROs) often build their campaigns around encouraging people to sign petitions or to write letters to public officials. But what’s the best way to motivate people to take action of that kind?

“Many [HROs] base their decisions about how to organize a particular campaign on their perceptions about what has worked in the past,” says Michele Leiby, an assistant professor of political science at the College of Wooster. Along with Matthew Krain, a professor...

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