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Attitudinal change in troubled times: A triangulation strategy (TRIANGULATE)
Start date: Jan 1, 2013, End date: Jul 1, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Comparative political behaviour research studies the impact of individual and contextual characteristics on citizens’ political attitudes and behaviour. Typically, researchers use cross-national survey data and country-level data to examine how economic, political, or institutional contexts affect the outcomes of interest. However, conventional identification strategies suffer from omitted variable and reverse causation problems, which hinder the ability of researchers to assess causal claims.To help overcome these problems, this project will develop, apply, and disseminate a novel triangulation strategy that combines three methodologies:a) The analysis of cross-national survey data to establish external validityb) The design of original survey experiments to assess the internal validity, i.e. if there is a cause and effect relationship between the variablesc) The use of case studies to trace mechanismsThe triangulation strategy will be applied to study how three contextual features that are very relevant in the current European environment generate attitudinal change:a) The effect of income inequality on pro-social attitudesb) The effect of an economic depression on attitudes towards democracyc) The effect of electoral procedures and voter turnout on governmental legitimacyOne main aim is to promote the use of multi-method approaches and experiments in European political behaviour research. To achieve this, the project foresees the collection of original experimental data, the organization of at least two academic dissemination activities, and the organization of courses on survey experiment design.The substantive results are of interest to the general public. The project will disseminate them through a website, the write-up of a general audience book, and through several newspaper articles reviewing academic and historic evidence on the impact of inequality and an economic crisis on citizens' attitudes."

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