This course presents and assesses some of the recent debates on the field of public opinion and political participation. We will survey the literature in political science with an emphasis on empirical approaches to examining the origins, determinants, and consequences of different types of political actions and attitudes. The degree to which it is possible to empirically demonstrate causes and effects in public opinion studies will be a common theme that we return to throughout the course.

Apart from the first introductory sessions, each meeting proposes a topic for debate. All students take on the obligation to do the compulsory reading (at least 1 article per session) for each of the sessions before class, so as to be able to understand and discuss the debate critically. This is a one-week concentrated course, so each day we will have at least two sessions

The course will cover a variety of methodological approaches for studying citizens’ attitudes and political participation, although the focus will be in observational data, given the predominance of this type of evidence in the literature. So previous knowledge about survey research will help. We will also cover recent developments in the field with the use of alternative research designs to approach the experimental benchmark using observational data. Previous knowledge of quantitative and experimental techniques will also be of help.