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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Harald Bathelt

Ismail Mostafa Student number: 997981554 POL 322 Assignment #1 Set #2 Articles: Voter Turnout Ansolabehere, Stephen, Shanto Iyengar, Adam Simon and Nicholas Valentino. 1994. “Does Attack Advertising Demobilize the Electorate?” American Political Science Review, 88(4): 829- 838. Henderson, Ailsa and Nicola McEwen. 2010. “A Comparative Analysis of Voter Turnout in Regional Elections.” Electoral Studies. 29: 405-416. For this paper, I will investigate the issue of voter turnout between two articles, and with it, their identified independent and dependant variables. Furthermore, evaluate the research designs used within each other, and determine how effective they are in comparison to the each other. As a result, the similarities and differences will have to be discussed, as well as the advantages and disadvantages in the research methods of both articles. Both articles differ in their hypothesis, which according to Dane, is a statement used to describe a relationship between variables. 1The first articles’ hypothesis states that exposure to negative ‘attack’ advertising 2 will lower the percentage of likely voters. Therefore, there is one independent variable, this being the exposure to negative advertising, whereas the dependant variable denoted is percentage of likely voters or essentially voter turnout. However, the experimental design had to be manipulated to include the effects of advertising tone on voting, in order to overcome the limitations of previous research . On the other hand, the second article consists of two hypotheses, the first one signifying that the degree of turnout in regional elections varies depending on the degree of regional institutional authority, with stronger institutions positively related to higher levels of turnout . The dependent variable denoted is the level of voter turnout, whereas the independent variable is the strength of regional institutions. On a further note, the second hypothesis evolves around the notion that voter turnout will be higher in regions with a higher degree of distinctiveness, than 1 Dane, Francis C, Evaluating research, page 326 2 Stephen, Shanto Iyengar, Adam Simon and Nicholas Valentino, Does Attack Advertising Demobilize the Electorate? 3 Stephen, Shanto lyengar, p.830 4 Henderson, Ailsa and Nicola McEwen, A Comparative Analysis of Voter Turnout in Regional Elections, page 409 regions with a lower degree of distinctiveness. Whereas the dependent variable between both hypotheses remains the same, the independent variables change between institutional authority and the degree of regional distinctiveness. The regional institutional authority variable exemplifies the level of autonomy and influence within the region as opposed to national elections, whereas regional distinctiveness evolves around the strength of attachment to the region. Both articles tend to differ in their focus, which is clearly evident from their hypotheses. Both tend to be similar in that they focus on the issue of voter turnout. To conclude, both articles use different research designs to back up their hypotheses. To start off, the first article uses an experimental research design, where the specific purpose of the design is to test for a casual relationship between exposure to attack advertising and voter participation. As stated in the article, the most distinctive feature of their research design, is its ability to capture the casual effects of a particular feature of campaign advertisement , and with regards to the experiment is the effect of advertising tone on voter participation. One important feature of the research design is the control over variables, because keeping something constant enables the design to have control over the research environment . The controls features of the experiment were the political campaigns, the visual elements of the advertisement and the announcer. Even though experimental manipulation of the research design was necessary to enable a tighter degree of control over the independent variable, than instead of manipulating the research even further there 5Henderson, Alisa p.831 6 Dane, p.163 is a reliance on random assignment. This is used, because random assignment is needed to ensure that every participant in the experiment is equally likely to experience any level of the campaign advertisement and allows the researcher to influence variation in the findings. Furthermore, surveys were conducted to obtain the results, which were done through the use of pre-test and post-test questionnaires at the given locations, to see how much the independent variable would change and a 15-minute campaign advertisement, which addresses the adver
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