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ENG 112: College Composition II (Stanbach-Loudoun)

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Welcome and Introduction


English 112 Capstone Research Project  


This research guide will help you find information and resources for your ENG 112 capstone research project. For more detailed assignment information, please refer to your Canvas course or contact your professor.  For library research help, use the 'Need Help' box with email, chat, and appointment options.

ENG 112: Research Topics

  1. The impact of perceptions of candidate character traits on presidential voting. Look at the relationships between perceptions of the leadership abilities of the presidential candidates and voting behavior. There are other candidate character traits that voters may find relevant, and one possible research topic is the effect that these assessments of candidate character traits have on voting. Overall, how did the voters assess the personal characteristics of the two candidates? Did one candidate have an overall advantage when it came to these perceptions? Are some assessments more strongly related than others to the vote? Can we be confident that these assessments have a direct effect on voting, as opposed to just being associated with vote choice? What voter characteristics influence how the voters assess the personal qualities of the candidates?
  2. The impact of economic influence and attitudes on presidential voting. How does the voters’ personal financial situations, perceptions of the national economy, and evaluations of the president's handling of the economy related to each other and to the vote? What is the causal order among these variables (i.e., what affects what)? What voter characteristics affect economic evaluations and attitudes?
  3. The impact of foreign policy attitudes on presidential voting. This analysis could be expanded to consider a broader set of attitudes and evaluations concerning foreign policy and national security issues. How were such attitudes related to voting in 2008? How were these foreign policy attitudes and evaluations related to each other? What influenced how voters felt about these issues?
  4. The impact of specific policy issues on presidential voting.  The effect that attitudes on abortion had on the vote is one example. Other specific policy issues also could be examined, including attitudes on other moral issues, such as gay rights, or attitudes on economic or social welfare issues. Relevant questions that you could investigate include whether attitudes on the issue truly affected the vote, what types of people were more likely to vote on the basis of the issue, how people perceived differences between the candidates on the issue, and how attitudes on the issue were related to other voter attitudes or characteristics. Other policies such as gerrymandering, voter ID, the voting age, and mandatory voting can also be explored.
  5. The influence of demographic or social characteristics on presidential voting.  What relationships between demographic or social characteristics influence the vote? These characteristics could be examined in more depth. Which characteristics are most strongly related to the vote? Why are characteristics such as race, gender, income, or religion related to how people vote?