Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations
University of Nottingham
I investigate forms and structures of collective choice (e.g. legislative and parliamentary organization) using both empirical and formal (e.g. game-theoretic) approaches. My research interests revolve around one central (and arguably, fundamental) issue in political science: how groups do and should choose collective outcomes. When chosen alternatives affect all members of a group collectively (e.g. laws passed by a representative legislature) the logical, normative, and descriptive aspects of collective choice becomes an involved matter, relevant not only within the discipline of political science, but also in the larger domain of designing effective collective decision-making environments and institutions. As such, I find the process of discovery to be both primary and motivating.
Similarly, I want my students to experience the joys of discovery in their own studies. I pursue this goal by giving students opportunities to actively problem-solve and by challenging them to think critically. Incorporating quantitative analysis into teaching and assessment is one effective way I have found to promote and demonstrate the virtues of scientific approaches to studying political phenomena.
Recent advances in dynamic documents, 'literate programming' and reproducible research offer exciting tools, procedures, and modalities applicable to teaching hands-on quantitative methods material. First, reproducible research - and the increasingly adopted norms of 'open data' - means more data (and more current data) are available for teaching purposes. Next, several of the technical innovations used in the 'reproducible research' movement (e.g. `knitr` Rmarkdown, etc.) can help the design of seminar activities, tutorials, short courses, etc.