Studying the Science of Protesting
Our project studies who participates in protest in America. Currently, our efforts are focused on collecting data from participants at large-scale protest events in Washington, DC during the current cycle of protest in winter/spring 2017. To collect our data, we survey participants with a paper survey on clipboards, which requires extensive data entry and cleanup. We are raising funds to purchase tablets to be used in the field and to support the labor and analysis involved. Handheld tablets will be used to collect data at large-scale protest events in Washington DC in 2017, including at the March for Science and the People's Climate March. This innovation will lead to the data being more readily accessible and will significantly limit the effort required for data cleaning. As a result, we will have findings much faster.
Our research collects data from a random sample of protest participants to learn about who participates, what motivates them to protest, and how they are connected to one another. We can also answer broad questions about large scale political mobilizations, as well as those about political engagement, organizational embeddedness, network connections among protest participants, and how protest around contentious issues connect social movements and change over time. Most recently, our project studied participation in the Women's March on Washington, DC on 21 January 2017. The 9-person research team of UMD faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates collected a sample of 528 randomly sampled participants from the March.
On January 21, 2017, we collected data at the Women’s March on Washington. We surveyed over 500 participants. We found that roughly 90% voted in the 2016 election, over 25% were first-time protesters, and they attended for a variety of issues including Women’s Rights, reproductive rights, immigration, racial justice, LGBTQ issues, and the environment. This research was recently featured in CNN, Associated Press, New York Magazine, and other local and national media outlets.
Preliminary findings from our research have been reported by CNN, the Associated Press, New York Magazine, and on National Public Radio (among others).
To learn more about the team's research and findings visit https://youtu.be/GYpayTHfpP0
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