his series was reported for more than a year. To have a foundation of knowledge on the issues of poverty, income inequality and economic mobility, reporters Joan Garrett McClane and Joy Lukachick Smith read more than 250 peer-reviewed studies published by major research institutions and nonprofit organizations and read a dozen books written by social scientists.
In reviewing these academic publications, reporters tried to be conscious of the political leanings or financial ties between researchers and partisan opinions. For the sake of transparency, much of the research used to build this series is being made available to readers online here. Readers can scroll over any words underlined in yellow and link to the research on which that piece of reporting was based.
In addition to academic research, reporters expanded their knowledge base through hundreds of interviews with struggling individuals, nonprofit leaders, government officials, policy analysts, social scientists, economists, psychologists, neuroscientists, political scientists, pastors and neighborhood activists. Reporters traveled to Middle Tennessee, southern West Virginia and western Georgia as well.