Research Plan

The thesis which I will be researching is: Do voters choose their candidates out of personal interest or because of their views on social issues? I may focus on one particular issue, such as affirmative action. So in this case, would a white individual who supports greater racial equality vote against affirmative action because it might hurt their chances at college acceptance or employment, or would they vote in support because of their desire for more equality? Secondary questions would evaluate the impact of party allegiances on voting behavior in regards to the primary questions, and the effect of voter information and issue knowledge. In my research thus far, both of these factors have had an impact on research addressing similar questions.

After reading “Whites’ Opposition to “Busing”: Self-Interest or Symbolic Politics?” (Sears, Hensler, and Speer, 1979), “Economic Discontent and Political Behavior: The Role of Personal Grievances and Collective Economic Judgments in Congressional Voting” (Kinder and Kiewet, 1979), and “Homer Gets a Tax Cut: Inequality and Public Policy in the American Mind” (Bartles, 2005), I have come to the conclusion that my primary method of research will be analysis of large data sets such as the American National Election Studies data set. This data includes surveys taken every presidential election of voters, with questions regarding current economic and political issues as well as demographic questions and political and social ideology questions. I will locate the questions which best fit my thesis and analyse this data to arrive at an answer for my thesis question. In order to complete this research, I will need to learn how to conduct statistical analysis, and it is my hope that my research adviser will be able to assist me in this. Also, a source which I obviously still need to read, and very thoroughly, is the data set itself.

It is quite likely that I will need to conduct some original research to answer my secondary questions, particularly the one regarding voter information or knowledge of the subject at hand. The ANES data set contains information on political party allegiance, so I can use that to determine how that might effect voting behavior. However I don’t believe that it can evaluate voter information on the issues. To determine the impact that this has on voter behavior in regards to my primary thesis question, I will design an experiment which will measure voter behavior before and after being properly informed on the issue. I will first present the research subjects with a survey determining their demographics and social beliefs so that I can determine how the issue on hand, such as affirmative action, would effect them personally and how they would feel about it based on their world views. Then I would ask them how they would vote for a candidate who either supports or opposes the issue. After this, I would provide them with information on the issue, such as how it actually would or would not affect them, and the social difference it would make. After being given this information, I would ask them to vote again. Finally, I would study how their vote did or did not change, and from this determine if voter information makes a difference in how people vote on issues which concern their personal and social interests. Here again, I have some learning to do so I can design a sound experiment that properly collects meaningful data which could answer my research question. I will gain this experience through readings recommended by my adviser on research methods and how to design experiments, such as the Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Political Science.

Though I have now read enough articles related to my thesis question to know that data set analysis will be my primary method of research, and to know that political party and voter information are important secondary questions to ask, I still could do additional reading to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the academic consensus on the topic of self interest versus social interests in voting behavior. From what I’ve read so far, most seem to believe that self interest is not involved at all, but I have encountered a couple important exception to this which I will need to consider more closely. I am also interests in the ethical implications of this voting behavior, especially if I do find that some people vote out of self interest, so I may want to speak with Dr. Flanigan or Dr. Price to discuss how I could work ethical considerations into my thesis.



  1. Introduction
    1. Overview of Extrinsic v. Intrinsic incentives
      1. Real world examples
        1. SPARK (Student Programme for Advancement in Research Knowledge)
          • NYC
          • Gave 4th & 7th grade cash incentives

          Capital Gains Project: DC

          • Gave cash incentives to middle school students in DC

          Paper Project: Chicago

          • Gave cash incentives to high school students (9th and 10th)
      2. Outline Title I Schools
        1. Two different types
          1. Targeted Assistance
          2. School wide assistance
            1. How do two types differ in how we should/can support these students?
            2. What makes title 1 Schools different?
            3. Why should these students receive different ethical considerations compared to other students?
    2. Exploration of ethical theories
      1. Normative Ethics
        1. Defining what it is
        2. Exploring subgroups within theory
      2. Deontological Theory (nonconsequentialist)
        1. Defining theory
        2. Examining key thinkers
          1. KANT
        3. Relation to extrinsic incentives
      3. Consequentialist Theories
        1. Utilitarianism
          1. Bentham and Mill
      4. Virtue Ethics
    3. Consult other ethical considerations
      1. Sandel’s Justice 
        1. Financial incentives have effect of corrupting
      2. Satz’ Why Some Things Should Not be for Sale
        1. Some goods for which markets should not be introduced
          1. Coercion
          2. Vulnerability
            1. underage are particularly vulnerable population

Additional Readings:

  1. Further research on the three real world examples of programs which have provided cash incentives
  2. “Paying students to learn: An ethical analysis of cash for grades programmes”
  3. Further research on virtue ethics


  1. Introduction
    1. Background
      1. What is democracy?
        1. Define democracy in broad terms
          1. Start at roots! Where was democracy first seen? Be very broad
          2. System of government in which citizens elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body or exercise their power directly
        2. Narrow in on Democracy in the United States
          1. What is representative democracy?
            1. History of representative democracy in the U.S.–> Framers
            2. Why did the framers believe that it was the best form of government?
          2. Theories
            1. What are the milestones of democracy in the United States?
              1. Introduce theories about major shiftsà pre-internet politics, internet politics, social media politics
              2. Theories about democracy
                1. Social mediaà increased political participation
                2. Political participation means increased awareness
                3. Anonymityà lack of accountability
              3. Where are we today?
                1. Internet Culture
                  1. What is internet culture?
                  2. Length and Complexity of messages
                2. What is populism?
                  1. Introduce theories behind populism
  • Explain Twitter
  1. How is Twitter Relevant to relevant to politics
    1. What is political participation
    2. 2016 election
      1. What does it say about social media and its role in the political process
  • Is Twitter more persuasive than other sources?
  1. Rhetoric of politicians before and after emergence of social media
    1. What does this show?
  • How has the emergence of Twitter as a key player in the political process impacted the nature of representative democracy in the United States?
    1. We are not electing the person who we believe will best represent our interests
    2. Twitter is more persuasive than traditional news media
    3. 2016 electionà RAPID spread of information
      1. Fake news
      2. Russia
    4. Analysis of Tweets
      1. Content Analysisà specific language in Donald Trump’s Tweets
        1. Who is he appealing to?
        2. How was Twitter used by the general public in this election cycleà maybe analyze tweets from random sample of general public
      2. Fake news
        1. How is social media adding to the spread of fake news?
        2. What does fake news do to democracy?
      3. How much do people really know/care about politics? Maybe relate back to length and complexity of message (Tweets)
        1. What tactics did Trump use
      4. How does this relate to leadership?
        1. Donald Trump is the President of the United States, how did he use Twitter to his advantage?
        2. What does this mean for other leaders?
          1. Look at rhetoric pre and post twitter

Other Sources/ Sites to look at:

5 Additional Sources

Encyclopedia of Gender in Media, SAGE Publications

Gender and Women’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook, SAGE Publications

Prime-time feminism: television, media culture, and the women’s movement since 1970, Dow

Women watching television: gender, class, and generation in the American television experience, Press

Women and Comedy: History, Theory, Practice, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

Blog Post for April 9

Additional Sources:

1. Allison, Scott T., and David M. Messick. Conceptions of Leadership: Enduring Ideas and Emerging Insights. Edited by G. Goethals and R. Kramer, 2014 edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

2. Allison, Scott T., et al., editors. Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership. 1 edition, Routledge, 2016.

3. Warshow, Robert.The Immediate Experience: Movies, Comics, Theatre, and Other Aspects of Popular Culture, Harvard University Press, 2002.

4. (Box office website. Not sure if there’s a better source…)

5. That feminist theory book Dr. Bezio gave to me that’s sitting on my bookshelf 🙂

Additional Sources/Faculty Mentor

I have a confirmed faculty advisor!! I will be working with Dr. Hoyt and conducting research alongside her next year.

5 additional sources that I think will be important for my research:

  1. The Resurgence of Awe in Psychology: Promise, Hope, and Perils- Kirk Schneider

2. Krause, N., Pargament, K. I., Hill, P. C., & Ironson, G. (2016). Humility, stressful life events, and psychological well-being: Findings from the landmark spirituality and health survey. The Journal of Positive Psy- chology, 1–12.

3. Keltner, D., Ellsworth, P. C., & Edwards, K. (1993). Beyond simple pessimism: Effects of sadness and anger on social perception. Journal of personality and social psychology, 64, 740–752.

4. Keltner, D., & Haidt, J. (2003). Approaching awe, a moral, spiritual, and aesthetic emotion. Cognition and Emotion, 17, 297–314. http://dx.doi .org/10.1080/02699930302297

5. Keltner, D., Kogan, A., Piff, P. K., & Saturn, S. R. (2014). The sociocul- tural appraisals, values, and emotions (SAVE) framework of prosocial- ity: Core processes from gene to meme. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 425–460.

6. Keltner, D., & Shiota, M. N. (2003). New displays and new emotions: A commentary on Rozin and Cohen (2003). Emotion, 3, 86–91. http://dx


Tangney, J. P. (2002). Humility. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.),Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 411–419). London: Oxford Uni- versity Press.

Additional Sources – Ashley Gross

  1. Mondello, M. J., & Pedersen, P. M. (2003). A content analysis of the Journal of Sports Economics. Journal of Sports Economics4(1), 64-73.
  2. Cunningham, G. B., & Sagas, M. (2008). Gender and sex diversity in sport organizations: Introduction to a special issue.
  3. Van Sterkenburg, J., Knoppers, A., & De Leeuw, S. (2010). Race, ethnicity, and content analysis of the sports media: A critical reflection. Media, Culture & Society32(5), 819-839.
  4. Chrisler, J. C., & McCreary, D. R. (2010). Handbook of gender research in psychology (Vol. 1). New York NY: Springer.
  5. Schuiteman, J., & Knoppers, A. (1987). An examination of gender differences in scholarly productivity among physical educators. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport58(3), 265-272.

Claudia Ajluni- April 9

After speaking with both Dr. Archer and Dr. Bezio, Dr. Bezio has agreed to serve as my primary thesis advisor! I am looking forward to getting started on this project with her. Dr. Archer and Dr. Bezio have also given me several new articles to look at, which I think can be extremely important to my research.

  1. Dewey, Caitlin. “You Should Actually Blame America for Everything You Hate about ‘Internet Culture’.” The Washington Post. November 21, 2014. Accessed April 08, 2018.
  1. Mark Bauerlein’s Digital Divide; Jeffrey Cohen’s The Presidency in the Era of 24-Hour News; Nick Couldry’s Media, Society, World; Ludger Helms’s “Democratic Political Leadership in the New Media Age”; Lee & Shin’s “Are They Talking to Me?”; Robert MacDougall’s Digination.
  2. Jost, John T., Jonathan Nagler, Joshua A. Tucker, Richard Bonneau, and Pablo Barberá. “Tweeting From Left to Right.” Psychological Science 26, no. 10 (2015): 1531-542. doi:10.1177/0956797615594620.
  3. Oliver, J. Eric, and Wendy M. Rahn. “Rise of the Trumpenvolk.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 667, no. 1 (2016): 189-206. doi:10.1177/0002716216662639.
  1. Jost, J. T., Barberá P., Bonneau R., Langer M., Metzger M., Nagler J., Sterling J., Tucker J.T. 2018. “How Social Media Facilitates Political Protest: Information, Motivation, and Social Networks”. Advances in Political Psychology, 39(S1): 85-118.

Research Methods – Ashley Gross

Starting out, I thought my research would be purely in the social science realm. Although I still foresee it being majorly social science based, I have become very interested in the history of opportunities for women and I’d like to incorporate that as a component in my research as well. I think I’ll spend a portion of my paper examining the effects of potential historical influencers on different places in the world.

Specifically, because of my summer experience, I’m thinking I may want to look at the native cultures around the world that had more equitable cultures before other influences such as colonization and globalization impacted them. I think using a map to show the countries that had more matriarchal hunter-gatherer societies compared to those that are currently leading the world in women’s rights and well-being would be very interesting. I also think creating a timeline of influence could be insightful, too.

As far as the bulk of my research, my plan right now is to conduct a survey that asks girls (all around the world?) what kinds of opportunities they’ve been given, if they think they could be successful in sports or academically, etc. My goal is to see if there is a pattern of deterrence because of a lack of opportunity, which is what I’m predicting. I’m planning to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research.

I think I’ll need access to information about genders in many different cultures, which I imagine will be easier to access in the location that those people lived (i.e. Maori in New Zealand). I will definitely need feminist theories as well as anti-feminist theories to refute. I envision also making a statement that is more broad, about minority or vulnerable groups, whether that be because of culture or policies enacted within a society, and using women as the case study.

If I’m able to get ahead enough on my research and set a plan, I’d like to conduct a few interviews while I’m abroad in New Zealand – both with Maori people and possibly experts that can tell me more about the culture and the relationship between men and women. I’d also like to interview women in leadership positions both in New Zealand and here in the United States (and possibly other places) so that I can try to understand the perceptions of women rising in to leadership positions in different cultures (difficulty in relation to men, perceived opportunities available, challenges of being a woman in a leadership position, etc).


My methodology can vary depending on which direction I would like to take my research. Initially, I was more interested in a descriptive analysis which would look at the efficacy of incentives within the K-12 setting, specifically formal mentoring relationships. If I were to pursue this route, I could either pursue an experiential method of either introducing or removing incentives in exiting mentoring relationships through existing channels such as Higher Achievement. However, this approach could be potentially problematic and against IRB guidelines being that it is direct intervention in an educational setting. Another methodology I could use if I were to take this approach would be to conduct a survey with both students and mentors about their perceptions of incentives and their effects on students accomplishing certain tasks/goals.

This approach is appealing to me primarily because of my vein desire to arrive at conclusive results to potentially inform not only my mentoring relationships but others’ relationships as well. However, I believe the survey method would echo professor Flannigan’s argument that surveys and observations portray perceptions of reality rather than how your topic of research actually operates. Additionally, Brian Warnick, author of “Paying Students to Learn”, argues that even if incentives produce positive results on the academic achievement of children, results do not tell the entire story. I, similar to Warnick, plan on taking a normative approach and examine the question of should incentives be provided in the context of formal mentoring relationships.

The normative approach, unlike the descriptive approach, would not require me to collect data or run experiments. Instead, I could examine the question by consulting a host of contemporary and earlier moral and political philosophies echoed by Michael Sandel and Debra Satz. These two authors which I have previously studied argue that markets should not exist with certain goods based upon considerations of coercion and vulnerability. I could also extend this into an analysis from a Kantian standpoint and argue that there is something intrinsically valuable about education or reject this view altogether.