To complement the UM Democracy and Debate Theme Semester, CLOSUP is launching a special project this fall to explore the functioning of democracy across the urban-rural spectrum.
There is much talk, especially in recent years, about the urban-rural divide: the idea that urban and rural people think fundamentally differently about a whole range of policy issues, and about governance itself. Most commonly, this divide is attributed to politics and demographic differences between urban and rural residents. But differences in geography—specifically population density, land use, and prevailing industry—may also contribute to different policy preferences and participation in government. And further, while much attention is drawn to areas of disagreement, there are areas where Americans share common ideals.
Using data from previous iterations of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS), this project will identify where there are and—importantly—are not differences along the urban-rural continuum, especially as it relates to the functioning of democracy at the local level. In particular, we will explore:
- The state of civil civic discourse
- Public participation in decision-making
- Community engagement practices
- Access to government information and an informed citizenry
- Local government policy priorities
Student job description and desired qualifications:
We are seeking 5 students to commit 8-10 hours per week for the Fall semester to conduct background research, perform data analysis on existing survey data, and draft a ~10 page research paper on one of the above topics, as well as present their work on a webinar in late November. While students will be working on individual projects, each week they will (remotely) meet as a group with the CLOSUP project manager to jointly develop a report outline, troubleshoot data analysis, and peer review eachother’s work.
We are seeking masters students who have experience with statistical analysis in either SPSS or Stata; an interest and ability to work both independently and as part of a team; strong written communication skills; and an interest in exploring urban/rural issues. Experience with independent research is preferred, though not required.
The day/time for the required weekly group meeting will be determined once students are selected.
Interested students should email their resume and a brief (1-2 page) statement of interest to CLOSUP-Student-Jobs@umich.edu, with the subject line “Urban/Rural Project RA Position.”
If you have a preference for a particular bulleted topic, please address that in your statement of interest.
Interviews with qualified candidates will begin August 27th.