Term Project Guidelines

For the term project, you will produce a report investigating the plausability of specific influences of your choice on the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. I have provided information on how to access County Health Rankings data as well as American Community Survey data, and you were also required to identify and process an additional data source of your choice. If, for example, you wanted to investigate the relationship between the popularity of Chianti and the election results, you could combine data on Chianti consumption as well as demographic, economic, and health data on the outcome.

Your outcome variable(s) should be things like vote share (Republican, Democratic, or third party), excess vote (e.g. Republican share minus Democratic share), change in vote share (Democratic 2016 vote share minus Democratic 2012 vote share), voter non/participation, or some similar measure of voting behavior or vote outcomes.

Your report should include several visualizations including:

  1. Appropriate univariate visualizations of your variable(s) of interest (boxplots, histograms, etc.)
  2. Scatterplots of your variable(s) of interest – remember to put explanatory variables on the x-axis, and response variables on the y-axis
  3. Maps of your variables of interest (probably choropleth, but other types as appropriate)

These are minimums, and you should consider additional ones, including possibly bivariate maps that attempt to display visually the predictor-response correlation you are arguing for. Each image should be integrated into the discussion, so that you make clear what you think it is showing and make it part of your narrative.

The entire report should be a minimum of 2000 words. It can be done in a paper (PDF) or web-bases style. A paper report should include standard academic-style citation. A web-based report should identify sources journalistically (i.e., embedded in the discussion), and include links to the sources. Given the recency of the election, your sources do not have to be typical academic sources (such as journal articles). However, many academics (particularly political scientists) have been writing opinion pieces in the popular press, and you should consider using such sources, in addition to journalist reporting, among your sources. Please provide at least six sources (other than data or citations), at least two of which are discussed in detail, and form the backbone of your investigation.