PoliSci Blog

Posted on September 17th, 2019 in Students/Alumni by Serena Hawkins

As a junior in IUPUI’s Political Science department, I was honored to have the opportunity to present at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference in Chicago in April of 2019.  The title of the paper presented:  “Construal Level Theory of Psychological Distance: How Direct Democracy Can Improve and Harm Political Efficacy”

The goal of the paper is to connect the dots between direct democracy and feelings of political efficacy. Current scholarly work has not yet been able to show a clear link between these two things. We argue that this is because current work does not take into account the differences in ballot initiative process from state to state, nor the differences between internal and external efficacy. Our research provides a more comprehensive look at the influence direct democracy has on political efficacy, and hopefully a launching pad for more scholarly work regarding the secondary effects of direct democracy.

I have been privileged to be conducting research on the effects of direct democracy, under the guidance of Department Chair Dr. Aaron Dusso.  Thanks to a grant awarded by IUPUI’s Center for Research and Learning, I have been given the chance to collect data and conduct scholarly research in the field of political psychology.  This research has so inspired me that I intend to continue my studies in political science, working towards my doctorate, with a goal of becoming a professor and researcher in this fascinating field.

Continued research in the form of an original survey has being funded by the Center for Research and Learning as well as the Political Science Department, and we are looking forward to taking part in the conference again in spring 2020. I am grateful to IUPUI as well as Dr. Dusso for the opportunity to discover a passion for research and study in the field of Political Science.