Survey Experiment Design

Survey Experiments similar to those used by Brader et al.have become an important research tool in political psychology. This year in Poli 185 we have an opportunity to learn more about this technique in cooperation with a political science class at the University of Victoria (Poli 321). Essentially we will design a survey experiment in which they will act as participants/respondents and we will be the participants in a survey experiment that they design.

There are three parts to this assignment, each with a separate due date. For the first part you will suggest an item for inclusion in our survey experiment. To do so you are to propose:

one question on a substantive topic for inclusion in our study;

one variation or manipulation for framing the question.

In completing the assignment you should include a brief introductory paragraph explaining the rationale for your proposed question and for your suggested manipulation. In addition you should include the wordings for each just as they would appear in the survey.

You will recall that Brader et al asked about support for immigration as his substantive question and that frame varied whether or not an immigrant was depicted as from Europe or Mexico. You will also recall Brader et al used a second frame by also varying whether immigration was characterized as a cost or a benefit, but to complete the assignment you need only identify a single frame. Similarly, you needn’t propose a mechanism like he did. This is, after all, an opportunity to learn about survey experimentation, not a research study.

This first part of the assignment is worth 5%. It will be due on Tuesday 14 November 2017.

The second and third parts of the assignment will be due in the coming weeks on dates to be determined. Each of these will also be worth 5%. The second part will entail participating in the study developed by the class at UVic. The third will involve you in reviewing/interpreting some results from our study.

In developing a substantive question and a variation or manipulation, you will likely find it useful to learn a bit about issues of interest to Canadian students. While their interests and concerns are very much like your own, you may like to have a look at the websites for some the Canadian news outlets. These include:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corportation

The Globe and Mail

The Victoria Times Colonist

The National Post

The UVic independent student newspaper

Please note that the Globe and Mail and Times Colonist sites restrict the number of articles you may view within a month, but you can work around these restrictions by clearing your browser’s cache/cookies, or by temporarily blocking cookies alogether.