In our â€œBuilding a Better Congressâ€ research program, we focus on the identification of potential future legislators who are likely to be effective lawmakers, the cultivation of their lawmaking skills and talents, and an exploration of the accountability relationships between legislators and their constituents regarding lawmaking effectiveness.
Some current projects include: (1) Reviewing newspaper articles regarding the candidacy for office of numerous members of Congress, coding those articles on 15 variables that link to the legislatorsâ€™ likely future lawmaking effectiveness; (2) Developing metrics and codes for the importance of bills introduced within state legislatures; (3) Reviewing the materials presented in orientation for new members of Congress, identifying implicit hypotheses about the activities that could produce effective lawmakers, and testing those hypotheses with existing and new data from the Center.
We will work with the students' existing skill sets in assigning projects that will hopefully grow those skills over time.
1. Understand the research process, from gathering of basic facts to formulation of hypotheses, to gathering of data to test the hypotheses, to conducting hypothesis tests, to writing up and presenting results.
2. Develop a better understanding of the workings of legislatures.
3. Build up better information gathering skills.