This assignment pertains to your final research design project:
For your final project, you will be asked to refine a hypothesis or two about the relationship between stress (or stressful events, or fear or anxiety or health anxiety) and voter turnout. As noted in your final project instructions, you might want to use COVID as a natural experiment. You might also want to think about people’s perceptions of stress or threat, vs. actual stress or threat.
Take a look at some available data sources which might be useful for your research design:
Voter turnout rates for primaries which occurred in March, April and May 2020
Voter turnout rates in ‘normal’ times for the same areas
Public opinion data about how people are reacting to and perceiving the stress of these events:
Pandemic PollWatch: Issue 1
Spend some time looking over the data available on these sites. Then for this week’s discussion, please
1. Define a specific hypothesis that you might investigate which contributes to the academic conversation about the relationship between stress (or stressful events) and voter turnout. For example,
You might look at states which held presidential primaries during the pandemic and those states which postponed their primaries; here you might want to compare turnout rates for the two groups.
You might also consider how a variable like voter confidence in the president affects their perception of a crisis and how that affects turnout
In addition, follow the examples of Hassell and Settle (2017) and Gadarian and Allbertson (2014) to identify one or two testable hypotheses.
Put your hypothesis in the following form:
I expect to find that as X (independent variable) increases, Y (dependent variable) will...
2. Describe each of the variables in your hypothesis. Possible variables could include:
Perceived level of stress
Participant’s general health
Existence of a pre-existing medical condition
Participant’s health history
Participant’s overall health knowledge
News gathering and watching habits (i.e. CNN vs. Fox News, etc.)
3. Tell how you would measure each of your variables and specify their level of measurement (nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio).
4. Finally, tell us whether you would collect your own data or use some of the available data that you have looked at this week.
5. Finally, write about what you expect to find and why (in one paragraph).
P.S. Please number the answers for each designated question.