End of the Summer and Continuing Research

The summer almost over, but my research is far from completed. I have had a great experience this summer and I plan to continue my research into the school year. So far, I have gotten access to volunteer records from the Democratic Party of Virginia, written a survey and gotten it approved by the PHSC, distributed the survey to former campaign volunteers, and started analyzing the results.

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Change Over Time

Over the past several days, I’ve continued to explore my data and to look for new and interesting things in the network. I am especially interested in how the campaign network changed over time and whether it grew. Network growth and maintenance is especially important for political campaigns because a politician needs an effective grassroots network not just once, but every time he or she runs for reelection. Maintaining network connections can save a lot of organizational effort.

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Thoughts on the First Network

Hi everyone,

I finally managed to build my first social network map using Pajek. It is by no means finished and I am still not as comfortable with the computer program as I would like to be, but it is already interesting to look at the social network and just analyze it visually.

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Replying to Emails and Learning Pajek

Once I finally sent in my survey, it was nice to watch the results stream in to my Qualtrics account. Most of the recipients were very encouraging and helpful and I spent a lot of time replying to their emails and answering any questions they had. I had almost two hundred responses by the end of the first afternoon and, with a quick reminder email sent about a week later, I currently have over 500 responses.

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An Introduction and Getting Started

Hello Everyone,

My name is Meg Schwenzfeier and I am a recipient of the Sharpe and Community Studies Grant. I am doing summer research looking at how individuals’ social connections influence whether they volunteer for a political campaign. It took me a while to figure out the blogging process and longer than expected to obtain some of the data needed in order to begin my research, so I will do my best to update regularly from now on.

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