This summer I worked on a research project on the relationship between female members of parliament and abortion policies. My work mainly involved collecting data on the partisan composition of the governments of nine countries within the past century. Once I obtained this data from various international parliamentary archives, I organized the politicians by party, date, and gender into Excel spreadsheets. The final step involved labeling each party with its overarching party family, using data from the Manifesto Project. After the data from every country has been organized in this manner, Dr. Teele will be able to utilize the data in her paper. The partisan data should help her to better understand how the parties of female politicians affect the abortion policies of their governments.
Through this experience, I learned about both the field of political science as well as what it is like to work in academia in general. By researching the partisan compositions of various governments throughout history, I was able to gain an understanding of the political history of several countries. Furthermore, I learned the practical skills of Excel and Stata. Lastly, I gained insight into the daily routine of a political science researcher through utilization of both Penn library sources and government archives.
As a PPE major, this research project contributed to my educational experience because it allowed me to study political science in a different environment. Although I have read many political science papers in my classes, contributing to one myself gave me greater insight into how the field functions. I now have a better understanding of how political scientists use data to formulate their theories.