The Executive Order on Immigration: Why I’m Against it

The Executive Order on Immigration: Why I’m Against it

I’ve had some thoughts about the executive order that I would like to get out, especially considering version 2.0 is rumored to appear soon. As of now, there is still a stay on the original act, and it’s looking increasingly likely the courts will block it. However, I wanted to state why I opposed the ban as bad policy in the hopes that it may convince someone, somewhere, not to support similar actions.  Continue reading →

Twitter and the Campaign

Twitter and the Campaign

As part of a project I’m working on dealing with how immigration is framed, I had downloaded all tweets from the accounts of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders from November 1, 2015 until November 9, 2016. This time period covered both the Republican and Democratic primaries, their conventions, and the general elections.

Clinton was the most prolific tweeter, tweeting 7,148 timesfollowed by Cruz at 6,528. Sanders followed with 5,812 tweets, and Trump, who is most closely associated with the mediumtweeted the least at 4,827 tweets. Ted Cruz was the biggest retweeter, and both his and Sander’s tweets decreased after they dropped out of the race.

What were they tweeting about?  Continue reading →

What exactly is Populism?

What exactly is Populism?

It seems everyone is talking about populism these days. On one hand, there’s now a plethora of experts who want to opine on the populist moment and it’s connection with the far-right. On the other, a whole bunch of other people wondering why political science hasn’t been studying the issue.

But here’s the thing. There’s been plenty of work done on the rise of populist movements in comparative politics (see the links below) and populist movements can rise from the left as well as the right. In fact, in the US, populist movements often have had a leftist tinge (hello Governor Huey P.) and thinking of it as only a far-right phenomena completely ignores Latin America.  Continue reading →

America the Purple

America the Purple

As you may have noticed, I often use this blog as a placeholder to keep track of information that may come in useful in teaching. Along with the questions I highlighted in my last post, one of the other big confusions I find is understanding the voting system we have.

TV to the rescue! Adam Ruins Everything covers the Electoral College and Gerrymandering. And to top it off- SOURCES.

Picture for the post is a modified version from Howard, Chris. What America Looks Like. 2012. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
Getting Out the Vote

Getting Out the Vote

During this election season, I’ve realized how little practical knowledge of voting first time and young voters have. So I decided to look around the web and see what resources I could find and came across Campus Vote, which provides information on dates, registering, and requirements to vote for each state. Headcount has a great list of sites that provide information on who’s running, their platforms and other info for voters here, and here’s a general overview of voting in federal elections from the government itself.

Other things that have popped up are questions about voter fraud and intimidation. The Washington Post has an good overview of what is and isn’t vote rigging in the article: “Is this vote rigging?”.

Finally, since I wasn’t able to find a good overview, here are questions I’ve been asked by first time voters that aren’t covered above:  Continue reading →

Using MaxQDA and Day One Journal for Fieldwork

Using MaxQDA and Day One Journal for Fieldwork

So I’ve just gotten back from my first round of fieldwork, and am about to go back again. One of the wonders of doing fieldwork now is that there are a host of apps to help you organize, plan and carry out your research. While I used many of the same apps I do everyday at home, such as Evernote and Dropbox, I found two apps to be particularly useful in the field- MaxQDA and Day One Journal. Continue reading →

Python for Social Scientists

Python for Social Scientists

(Originally posted on my old blog on Jan 9, 2014)

As part of the content analysis I am doing for my dissertation, I’ve started to look at using Python to scrape documents from the web, as well as clean them up for analysis. In theory this should save me lots of man-hours of work; in reality, well, we’ll see.
Anyway, I though I would share my (very limited) experience and sources here. This is meant for total newbies, so if you know anything about coding, go hang out at stack overflow and make fun of me there.

Continue reading →

Content Analysis

Content Analysis

(Originally posted on my old blog on Dec. 9, 2013)

I’ve had several colleagues ask about using content analysis, so I’ve decided to put together a list of links and other resources in one spot.

A word on the qual vs. quant divide. Basically, when it comes to text as data, for me, your research goals define your methods. Sometimes, you are just not going to be able to answer your question without human coding. On the other hand, if you’re analyzing massive amounts of text, unless your research budget is equal to God’s, you aren’t going to be able to deal with it except through automating the coding process. But that said, even after hand coding, I still use quantitative methods to compare validity and see if the difference in categories between documents is statistically significant. The divide between the two is much blurrier here, although it does still play an role in how you define your data and what you see as “valid” coding methods. Continue reading →

Explaining voting systems

Explaining voting systems

(Originally posted on my old blog on Nov. 27, 2013; image by Rama, via Wikimedia Commons)
Voting systems are hard to introduce to students, especially some of the more creative ones. Fortunately, the internet has some really helpful resources to help explain different voting systems and the effect they have on parliaments. One of the best resources I’ve found comes from New Zealand. As part of their 2011 referendum on the electoral system, they put out several short and sweet videos that explained five different types of voting systems. You can find them all here.
Also, as a bonus, here’s a clip from the BBC that explains the D’Hondt system of allocating seats after the election. Because I know understanding this was keeping you up at night.
What is proportional representation?

What is proportional representation?

(Originally posted on my old blog on Nov 27, 2013)

Here’s a quick video starting John Cleese where he tries to sell UK voters on switching to a proportional representation system (spoiler alert: he fails). It covers the basics of how a system would work. While it’s rather old school, it still provides a very basic introduction to what this whole PR thing is about.

http://youtu.be/NSUKMa1cYHk