Short Paper #2: Analyzing Political Attitudes

Short Paper #2: Analyzing Political Attitudes

This assignment will ask you to interview a someone about their political attitudes, and then to analyze these responses using course concepts.

Identify a DU student, friend, family member, or other (at least 18 years old) who is willing to be interviewed as part of a class project. Set up a time and a place for the interview. Ideally, this will be at their convenience and in a quiet place where you can hear their responses well. Of course, feel free to use a phone or video chat to conduct your interview. Be sure you have materials ready to take down notes about the responses.

Important: Before beginning the interview, read each interviewee the following script:

Before we begin, let me introduce myself. I’m _____ and I’m conducting this interview as part of a project for my American Politics class. The goal of the interview is to explore patterns of political attitudes and beliefs. I’m going to ask you some questions about issues that have been in the news and what you think about them. It will take about 10-15 minutes. The information will be used to write a paper for the class. I will not use your name in the paper. If you have any questions about the project, you can e-mail the professor, Dr. Chatfield, at

Ask your interview subject the following questions and jot down notes reflecting their responses:

1. Thinking about your political beliefs, would you say you’re generally liberal, conservative, moderate, or something else?

2. How closely have you been following the debate over for All? Can you briefly describe your views on that?

3. How closely have you been following the debate over how the US should handle immigration? Can you briefly describe your views on that?

4. How closely have you been following the debate over what to do about climate change? Can you briefly describe your views on that?

Type up your notes in order to analyze them, and then jot down notes on the following topics:

A. For each answer, make a note of how you would describe the interviewees’ ideology. Does the answer reflect a liberal, moderate, or conservative ideology? If you cannot make such a determination, say why.

B. How consistent are the interviewee’s answers? Is the interviewee consistently liberal, conservative, or moderate? Or do they hold a mix of ideological views? Does the interviewee’s self-identification of their ideological views match their positions on the issues you asked about?

C. Why do you speculate that your interviewees’ views are or are not consistent? Does your evidence confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis that political ideology among voters is inconsistent across issues?

Write up your analysis using the following format, including the following three section headings. You do not need to include an introduction. The completed analysis should be about 2-3 pages, double-spaced (12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins).

I. Observations: 1-2 paragraphs describing the interview you conducted – do not use the interviewee’s name or other information that would clearly identify the person (i.e. “my mother”). You should very briefly describe the responses given by your interview subject, using direct quotes from your notes where appropriate.

II. Interpretations: 1-2 paragraphs summarizing your answers to questions A and B above.

III. Preliminary Conclusions: 1 paragraph, briefly answering the questions posed in C above.

You do not need to include a bibliography unless you wish to reference a source not included in the syllabus. There is no expectation or requirement that you will do any outside research (aside from your interview) for this project.

When I’m grading this assignment, here’s what I’ll be looking for:

1. Complete and thoughtful analysis responding to the three sections outlined above.

2. Correct application of course concepts to the answers given by your interview subject.

3. Clear, concise, error-free, and professional/academic writing style.

To submit this assignment: Check to make sure your paper is properly formatted, save as a Word document, and post to Canvas before the due date. You do not need to submit your interview notes, but you should save them until after the assignment is graded and returned to you.

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