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Vertically-Integrated Research Apprenticeships (VIRAs)

Sophomore students are able to enroll in POL and PA credits for opportunities to work alongside faculty on ongoing research projects. Some opportunities include partnering with local, state, and federal agencies. Research experiences often involve data collection and analysis, as well as training in providing evidence-based policy advice, rigorous policy evaluation services, and polling and survey research and services. The VIRA thus becomes a means of training students as policy analysts and data scientists, preparing them to enter world-class Ph.D. programs and professional research careers.

This experience provides students with technical training on research design and data analysis through a learning community; applied research experiences; and multi-level mentorship from faculty, advanced students, and graduate students.

The three credit course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) that lies at the heart of the VIRA program is comprised of the following:

  • 1 credit (3 hours per week) of class-based training and mentoring on understanding, collecting, and analyzing data, including topics such as where to find administrative data, basics of coding in R, use of algorithms to scrape data, and analysis of texts as data. Faculty whose projects benefit from undergraduate research contribute to training and mentoring.
  • 2 credits (6 hours per week) of research experience in which students form teams on ongoing research projects supervised by faculty. Exemplary faculty-led projects address:
    • human adaptation to natural disasters;
    • public management of invasive species;
    • diffusion of marijuana legalization policies;
    • public attitudes towards hosting refugees;
    • sources of racial biases in political preference formation;
    • coding text in multiple languages as data on violent organizations;
    • use of social media data to visualize incivility in politics.

Undergraduate Research Fellowships (URF)

Upon completion of the PURE, junior and senior students become eligible for our Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) program (financed through program fees and external grants) to continue their work on these projects. These opportunities will include the potential to take up roles as mentors to future participants on the PURE program. All URF opportunities are paid for approximately 10 hours of research each week.

Faculty-Student Research Collaborations

Many of our prior undergraduate research assistants have served as collaborators and co-authors on projects with faculty. These collaborations have resulted in a number of research articles, including the following (with undergraduate students highlighted in bold).

  • Acuna Baltierra, Maria & Jessica Maves Braithwaite. "Rebel Group Splintering and the Strength of Centralized Command." Under review.
  • Bergersen, Meghan, Samara Klar, and Elizabeth Schmitt. 2018. “Intersectionality and Engagement among the LGBTQ+ Community.” Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy 39(2): 196-219.

  • Braithwaite, Alex & Luna Ruiz (2018). "Female combatants, forced recruitment, and civil conflict outcomes." Research & Politics 5(2): 1-7.

  • Braithwaite, Alex, Faten Ghosn, & Tuqa Hameed. "Under pressure: When refugees feel pressured to leave their host countries." Under review.

  • Braithwaite, Jessica Maves, Joseph Cox, & Margaret Farry. "Tactics of Resistance and Post-Conflict Judicial Independence." Under review.

  • Ghosn, Faten, Tiffany Chu, Miranda Simon, Alex Braithwaite, Michael Frith, & Joanna Jandali. "The Journey Home: Violence, Anchoring, and Refugee Decisions to Return." Under review.

  • Gonzalez, Frank J., Stephen P. Schneider (Purdue University), & Lauren Bander. "Meme Wars: Online Provocation, Political Tolerance, and Dehumanization." Working paper.

  • Gonzalez, Frank J., & Nicole Chasey. "The effects of controlled processing on racial attitudes in political and non-political contexts." Working paper.

  • Gonzalez, Frank J., Jayme L. Neiman (University of Northern Iowa), & Naslie Rezaei. “Polarized Words in Polarized Times? Value-Based Language of Political Elites in a Polarized Government.” Working paper.

  • Gonzalez, Frank J., & Rahul Jayaraman. “Ingroup Favoritism, Deservingness, and Disadvantage: Explaining the Ideological Divide in Support for Government Assistance.” Working Paper.

  • Gonzalez, Frank J., & Sara Leinenveber. "Does group deliberation reduce prejudice or polarize racial attitudes?" Working paper.

  • Gonzalez, Frank J., & Alexandra McCoy. "Who is it okay to punch? Examining the Psychological Predictors of Support for Violence Against Political Groups." Working Paper.

  • Gonzalez, Frank J., Stephen P. Schneider (Purdue University), Joshua C. K. Ridenour, & Grant Ehlers. "What if I told you, politically offensive memes decrease political tolerance and (sometimes) lead to dehumanization?" Working paper.

  • Klar, Samara, and Alexandra McCoy. Forthcoming. "Biased Evaluations of Sexual Misconduct in Politics and the Mitigating Role of the #MeToo Movement." American Journal of Political Science.

  • Klar, Samara, and Alexandra McCoy. Forthcoming. "The Influence of the #MeToo Movement on Attitudes toward President Trump in the Wake of an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct." Politics, Groups, and Identities.