Exploring cause areas
Exploring cause areas

Exploring cause areas

Jul 31, 2023 10:22 AM
Property 1

How this track works

  • The aim of this track is for you, at the end of it, to have explored 4 cause areas that are candidates for top global issues that you should prioritise. You'll also have heard arguments for several more.
  • The idea is to (1) broaden your horizons on cause areas that you consider important; and also (2) to conduct your 'due diligence' on causes that you think might be important but which you haven't yet had the time to properly form an opinion about.
  • This is also a time for you to make progress on forming opinions on big picture moral and strategic considerations that would affect your cause prioritisation - such as longtermism and moral patienthood.
  • In contrast to other EA programs and reading groups, we'd like you to pay special attention to the relevance of these questions in relation to what you might actually go on to do in your career. These questions are important because they affect what you'll be doing for 40 years of your life!
  • In each week of this track, you'll pick a cause area to research, and you'll present your findings to your cohort for input.
  • At the end of this track, you will be in a position to do the
    Exploring job paths + Finding ways to make a difference
    Exploring job paths + Finding ways to make a difference
    track. You'll leave this track with a current best guess of top global issues to work on, and then try and work out longer-term job paths that would allow you to address your priority issues.
  • Technically, you can spend forever 'exploring cause areas.' The idea isn't that you'll have worked out your final view on everything, but we hope you'll leave with a prioritisation that you're happy enough with to start making career plans on.

What it looks like for this track to go well

  • We think a failure mode of this track is, when exploring cause areas, to just compile the 'basic facts' for the cause area and present it to others, without actually trying to think about how this cause compares in rank order of importance to other causes.
  • Instead we'd like you to try and approach this track with a very strong prioritisation mindset. Try and actually think through whether a cause is more important than another. Think through whether the case for one cause means that you should prioritise another cause less.

Plan for each session:

Session 1

In the first session, we'll co-work on filling out the workbook. The first session will be longer than the others, but people can leave when they're done with the workbook.
At the end of the session, submit your workbook to your facilitator for their comments. (You can also continue to work on it after the session)
[Organiser note] You can ask participants to submit via email, or to use a submission form (here's an example of the EA Oxford submission form)
Your facilitator will add comments to your workbook after the session
Book in a 1-1 with your facilitator for after the session
[Organiser note] Add a link to your Calendly here. Ideally, make a special event type with a relevant description, duration 15 mins. Have them book a time with you while you are still there on the call or in person. If they wait until later, they'll forget/not book.
In this 1-1 with your facilitator, you'll pick a cause area to explore for session 2

Sessions 2-5

  • In Sessions 2-5 you'll investigate a cause area of your choice each week, and deliver an informal 5-10 minute presentation on the cause area in each session.
  • You can use this template that we have designed to help you.
  • You can also take a look at the resources we've gathered below as useful starting points in your investigation.
Find or generate a reading list about your chosen cause area.
Before the session, do your research on the cause area and prepare your notes for your presentation
Present on your topic to the rest of the cohort in the session
After the session, pick another topic for the next week or choose to explore the same one in more depth

Example presentation:


Cause Areas