Summer Research College (SRC)
The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce summer research positions for undergraduates.
Participants will work directly with a faculty mentor for ten weeks and receive a $7,500 stipend with additional funding available based on financial need and/or location. Students also have the opportunity to attend optional research training seminars to learn additional skills throughout the summer. Projects may be done in person or remotely based on university policy. Summer Research College is designed to foster close intellectual exchange by involving students in the ongoing research of Stanford professors.
Participants must be current undergraduates at Stanford. Co-term students and seniors are eligible only if the bachelor’s degree will not be conferred before the end of the research appointment.
Students will be expected to work 40 hours per week during the program. The program will run from June 20 through August 26, 2022. Students and faculty will present their collaborative research in lunchtime seminars that will take place twice per week. Students are expected to attend each seminar.
Each student will receive a stipend of $7,500 with additional funding available based on financial need and/or location.
The department does not offer course credit for Summer Research College. Students are only eligible to receive the full Summer stipend. Students planning to take Summer courses may not enroll in courses that exceed 5 credits and must get prior approval from the faculty member with whom they are working.
For students who want to apply for on-campus summer housing, room, board, house dues, and other academic expenses are paid by the student. Students are responsible for paying their university summer bill, which will include any other academic expenses incurred. Students may review the summer room and board rates on the Housing Assignment Services website.
How to Apply:
Click on the preference form and use it to express your preference regarding faculty mentors and research projects. Please attach your cover letters, resume, and unofficial transcript to this preference form. If your application is approved, someone will contact you to set up an interview. The department is only accepting applications via the link above.
For any questions, please email Natalie Badalov (email@example.com).
Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 5pm. Students are encouraged to apply early.
2022 Summer Research Opportunities
Click each project title for more information.
|Faculty member||Project title|
|Michael Bernstein and Margaret Levi||Ethics and Society Review|
|Gary Cox||Tech Clusters in Early Modern Europe|
|James Fearon and David Laitin||Historical Persistence of Warfare|
|Justin Grimmer and Shanto Iyengar||From Convergence to Divergence: Tracking Media Issue Agendas Over Time|
|Jens Hainmueller, David Laitin, and Jeremy Weinstein|
|Daniel Ho||Public Sector AI Governance|
|Jon Krosnick||Investigating the Psychology of Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion|
|Margaret Levi||Causal Inference for Social Impact Lab|
|Margaret Levi||Creating a New Moral Political Economy|
|Michael McFaul||21st Century Great Power Relations and Competition between Russia, China, and the United States|
|Norman M. Naimark||Stalin's Terror, 1930-1953|
|Soledad Artiz Prillaman||Identity Politics and Development Policy|
|Scott D. Sagan|
Ethics and Society Review
Professors Michael Bernstein and Margaret Levi
The Ethics and Society Review (ESR) is a process that facilitates ethical and societal reflection as a requirement to access funding. This process forces researchers to describe their project’s most salient risks to society, to subgroups in society, and globally as well as how they plan to mitigate those risks. Grant funding is not released by participating institutions until the researchers complete the ESR process on their proposed project. By conditioning funding on the ESR process, we engage researchers at the formative stages of their research, when projects are still open to change, and ensure broad engagement with the process rather than self-selection of just those who are motivated. Responsibilities of assistant on this project will include content analyzing interviews and proposals, doing basic data cleaning, locating relevant literature, and helping to create documents for public distribution on the ESR website. The student must be able to work in a team, as the work will involve engaging directly with the CASBS director, the program director, and others involved in the project.
Tech Clusters in Early Modern Europe
Professor Gary Cox
Gary Cox, a professor in the Department of Political Science, is looking to hire two research assistants for a project on technological and scientific innovation in early modern Europe. Research assistants will be expected to read short biographies from approximately 7,000 notable scientists and writers in England active in the period 1500-1800 and compile information such as their places of residence throughout their lives. The information will be used in a project that studies the political pre-conditions for elite clustering and how elite clustering spurs scientific innovation.
Historical Persistence of Warfare
Professors James Fearon and David Laitin
Professors James Fearon and David Laitin have a draft manuscript, “Does contemporary armed conflict have ‘deep historical roots’?” asking whether warfare in a country post-1945 could be predicted by warfare within the boundaries of today’s countries pre-1945. They now seek to update the literature review, the data, and the statistical tables. There is a companion paper on civil war termination that needs to be updated, as well, and if there is time, the RA will be asked for similar service. They seek a research assistant familiar with the "R" statistical program and with Overleaf, and interested in international relations to help prepare the manuscripts for journal submission.
From Convergence to Divergence: Tracking Media Issue Agendas Over Time
Professors Justin Grimmer and Shanto Iyengar
Research assistants will undertake a systematic content analysis of news transcripts over the past five decades. They will tabulate the amount of daily attention to a set of political issues. No technical expertise is required, other than familiarity with Excel. Professors Grimmer and Iyengar will provide the necessary substantive background and coding instructions for the research team.
Air Pollution in South Asia
Professor Saad Gulzar
This project examines the political economy determinants of one of the largest public health catastrophes of modern times: air pollution in South Asia. We are studying how the incentives of those who govern affect outcomes like crop stubble burning, which is a key contributor to air pollution in the region. We are seeking to recruit a student who has experience working with large datasets using Python and R. Familiarity with Sherlock (computing cluster at Stanford) is an added bonus but not mandatory.
The Impact of Immigration Policies in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Africa
Professors Jens Hainmueller, David Laitin, and Jeremy Weinstein
Professors David Laitin, Jens Hainmueller, and Jeremy Weinstein are seeking up to four research assistants to assist in the Immigration Policy Lab’s research on the impact of immigration policies in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The Immigration Policy Lab has several projects underway, including a project examining the impact of state and local policies on immigrant intergenerational health, a multi-country project creating a new dataset on national policies for refugees and asylum seekers over time, and a project developing methods for measure immigrant location preferences. The research assistants will be responsible for data collection (quantitative and qualitative), data coding, data analysis, drafting literature reviews, as well as producing journal quality graphics and tables. Interest in immigration is a must, and a background in social science and statistics is preferred.
Public Sector AI Governance
Professor Daniel Ho
The Stanford Regulation, Evaluation, and Governance Lab is hosting summer research assistants interested in Public Sector AI Governance (PS-AIG). Our project seeks to develop the next generation of public interest technologists to audit, standardize, and develop equitable tools for artificial intelligence in the public sector. While the public sector is rapidly adopting AI tools, the potential for bias and disparate impact is widely acknowledged. The future of AI in the public sector depends critically on the human capital to ensure that AI tools conceive of equity as part of the objective, not merely a constraint. The PS-AIG program aims to bring talented computer science and social science students to directly engage on these issues with federal and local agencies. Students should have coursework and be pursuing a degree in a relevant field (e.g., data science, computer science, statistics, engineering, political science, economics, public health, sociology, or other related fields). Experience with programming languages strongly preferred (R or Python). Experience with machine learning, operations research, or other forms of data science is a plus. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information at https://reglab.stanford.edu.
Investigating the Psychology of Voting, Elections, and Public Opinion
Professor Jon Krosnick
Students will join the Political Psychology Research Group working full time over the summer on a variety of projects. The major project currently underway is creating a “Clearinghouse” of data on American public opinion on climate change. Students have been gathering up data from surveys of truly random samples collected by a wide array of organizations in the U.S. The students are building presentations comparing pairs of seemingly similar questions that yielded different results and identifying wording differences that might account for the different results. When the Clearinghouse has been built, students will participate in the conduct and analysis of national survey experiments to test whether wording differences can account for differences in results. The ultimate work product will be a public website educating the public about how to make sense of the existing corpus of evidence on American public opinion. Ideally, we will show that seemingly inconsistent results (when considered without attention to details of wording) are actually not inconsistent at all, and that American public opinion is both coherent and consistent across surveys. But we'll see what we find! No special skills are required.
Causal Inference for Social Impact Lab
Professor Margaret Levi
The Causal Inference for Social Impact Lab (CISIL) at CASBS attempts to advance both causal inference techniques for non-randomized designs and their application to the design and evaluation of public policies. Research assistant responsibilities will range from helping to administer our upcoming data challenge, participating in meetings, locating relevant literature, estimating basic descriptive statistics, and creating data visualizations. The position does require some basic statistics knowledge and proficiency with one of the common statistics programs. Extensive knowledge of non-randomized causal inference techniques is not a requirement, but a willingness to learn about them is a plus. The student must be able to work in a team, as the work will involve engaging directly with the CASBS director, the program director, and others involved in the project.
Creating a New Moral Political Economy
Professor Margaret Levi
The failure of neoliberalism in promoting human wellbeing, controlling inequality, protecting the environment, and shielding citizens from the malicious use of technology demands action. This project aims to build a new moral political economic framework. Student responsibilities will include proofreading academic and non-academic writing, participating in meetings, locating relevant literature, and researching academic programs in political economy. Additional tasks may include following news related to social movements around the world; compiling a literature review; and helping design a network visualization of international stakeholders, institutions, and academic programs that are reimagining how political economy is taught. The position does not require special skills, although familiarity with textual analysis and web design software is a plus. The student must be able to work in a team, as the work will involve engaging directly with the CASBS director, the program director, and the members of our working groups, as well as other RAs.
21st Century Great Power Relations and Competition between Russia, China, and the United States
Professor Michael McFaul
Professor Michael McFaul is looking to hire a student research assistant to support a book project about great power relations and competition between China, Russia, and the United States. The research assistant should be prepared to work both individually and collaboratively with other RAs on thematic and historical chapters that discuss themes such as power, ideology, multilateralism, and interdependence in the 21stcentury. Previous research experience, fluency in Russian or Chinese, and demonstrated interest in Russia or China are preferred.
Stalin's Terror, 1930-1953
Professor Norman M. Naimark
This project focuses on what Russians call the “repressions” of the Stalin period of rule in the Soviet Union, 1930-53. This is a vast subject with a surprisingly weak analytical literature. I will ask students to reconstruct the major episodes of the period, when possible using primary documents in the Hoover Archives or published. Students with a reading knowledge of Russian and/or Ukrainian will be given preference, but there is much English-language material to be examined, as well. The final product will be a comprehensive book on the subject.
Identity Politics and Development Policy
Professor Soledad Artiz Prillaman
How does politician identity, particularly gender, affect the delivery of development programs in the world’s largest democracy? This project will study how and when female politicians in India deliver different political services than their male counterparts and how this shapes development in the communities they serve. The project will draw on administrative data from across India and develop statistical models to answer this question. Undergraduate research assistants will collect, compile, and analyze data on politicians at all levels of government and link this with data on policy implementation and development outcomes. Core responsibilities will include cleaning large government data sets, merging complex data sets using fuzzy matching, generating figures and graphics of statistical relationships, conducting preliminary statistical analyses, and conducting literature reviews. Experience working in Stata or R is preferable. By the end of the summer, we will aim to understand how identities such as caste and gender shape the experiences of politicians and bureaucrats and under what conditions politicians from marginalized identities are best able to represent the demands and interests of those identity groups.
The Laws of Armed Conflict and Nuclear Weapons
Professor Scott D. Sagan
Professor Scott Sagan is working on a book chapter for the upcoming Cambridge University Press volume “History of the Nuclear Age” that analyzes the history of the Laws of Armed Conflict and their application to nuclear weapons. This project will require both legal and political analysis. The body of international law has significantly shaped the options that are available to governments in their use of nuclear weapons. But it is not obvious why states accede to laws which limit their sovereignty. Moreover, these laws are drafted in an international context where states each try to shape the letter of the law to maximize their flexibility and constrain the options of their adversaries. These questions can only meaningfully be answered by examining the interplay between strategy and law. Students would be responsible for reading and analyzing past literature, government documents, and negotiation records in support of Professor Sagan’s writing. Students will provide their analysis to Professor Sagan in the form of a series of short research memos. Professor Sagan will meet with students multiple times a week, providing feedback on students’ research and writing. Students with interest and experience in studying international security, nuclear weapons and/or the Law of Armed Conflict should apply. Students may find classes like Rules of War or PS 114S helpful in providing a background to the issues studied, but these are not strictly necessary.