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November 18, 2018 : Faculty research focused on political convention representation

by Sarah Shy


Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Linda Trautman, and Ohio University Lancaster student William Howard participated in a fifteen-member research team studying the nature of delegate represelindatntation at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The Democratic National Convention is a national party convention that was held in Philadelphia, PA in July 2016. The research team consisted of faculty members and students from four different universities.


The purpose of the research was to evaluate citizen representation of different contemporary political issues, including both domestic and international affairs. The significance of the research is to assess the degree of citizen advocacy and representation by delegates at the national political convention. Participation at the national convention was essential to provide experience on how national politics work in practice and to engage with national and state leaders throughout the country.


“The experience of the 2016 Democratic National Convention was significant for mentoring students about research methods and the process. Students were centrally apart of our research team and learned first-hand how to conduct qualitative and quantitative research.” said Trautman.


The Democratic National Convention research report contains information about the state of party politics, and views about the extent that the Democratic Party responds to different socioeconomic and demographic groups. In addition, the report gives information about the views and perspectives of party delegates and the level of importance of key political issues like equality, US trade policy, immigration, and other important topics. 


The team hopes that the research will provide a strong understanding of the role of delegates at a national political convention and the importance of advocating the interest and opinions of citizens, and that the research will clarify the inner workings of a national political convention and the nature of party politics in the United States.


“I hope the research has shed light on important political concerns affecting the nation including delegate viewpoints on issues of racial equality, gender equality, illegal immigration, US trade globalization, and higher education.” said Trautman.


People can benefit from the research by gaining knowledge about party politics, representation and then can respond to the views on contemporary and important political concerns impacting the country and world.


“The OUL student participating in the research team benefited enormously engaging with national political leaders and learning about the research process. In the appendix of the report, the student provides an account on how the experience was beneficial. Overall, my students have benefited from this work because I have applied the research in my teaching on American political parties in order to give students a real-life view of what happens at a national political convention.” said Trautman.  


Trautman stated that a trip to attend the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland was planned, but the advisory board, in consultations with the organizers, decided to cancel it due to the protests that surfaced before and during the convention.


“Today, citizen advocacy, representation, and engagement are very important. I would like to see more efforts to support similar research.” said Trautman.


Trautman’s primary teaching interests at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington are focused on American Politics including state and national legislative politics, mass political behavior, U.S. public policy and urban governance. She can be contacted at for more information.