My Research

On this page, you’ll find my current research projects. In the past, I have done research on attitudinal ambivalence, as well as partisan ambivalence. I have also conducted research on deliberation, on candidate evaluation, and on political values, in particular humanitarianism. I’ve been interested in attitudes toward European integration, social welfare policies, taxation, and foreign policy. A continuing interest lies in the area of political parties, which is reflected in my involvement of the Chapel Hill Expert Survey (I was a founding member) and in the project on electoral consideration sets. You should consult the Publications page or my cv for my past research projects and foci.

Current Projects

  • E-Democracy

    Developing and testing technical solutions for improving deliberation.

    How can we build technical solutions that enhance deliberation, empower citizens, and produce better laws? In this project with colleagues from computer science and law, we look at building large-scale deliberative computer platforms that help to streamline the public commenting on laws and the formulation of initiatives in Switzerland.

  • Electoral Consideration Sets

    Electoral choice as a three-stage process consisting of awareness, consideration, and final selection steps.

    Electoral choices can be complex with voters being able to choose from numerous parties. In this project, I assume that voters manage this complexity by first ruling out certain parties based on a few heuristics. They then engage in more effortful processing to settle on a final choice, should multiple alternatives remain. I develop statistical tools for estimating two-stage choice models, look at individual level heterogeneity in choice processes, and assess implications for understanding party competition and representation.

    Working Papers:

    • Steenbergen, Marco R., Dominik Hangartner, and Catherine E. De Vries. 2011. Choice Under Complexity: A Heuristic-Systematic Model of Electoral Behavior. Presented at MPSA, Chicago. [mpsa11]
  • Measurement Equivalence

    Implications of differential item functioning for various forms of statistical analysis.

    With the growing prominence of cross-national survey data, differential item functioning has become a central concern. Are cross-national differences indicative of trait differences across countries or do they merely reflect differences in response behaviour? If the latter is true, then how does this affect, among other things, causal inference and multilevel models? These are the central questions of the project.

  • Meta-Science

    Studying best scientific practices and workflows for social scientists.

    Is there a reproducibility crisis in the social sciences? What role does classical methodological training play in ensuring reproducible social science? What software tools can be developed to ensure reproducibility both in quantitative and qualitative social research? How can we remedy the over-reliance on statistical significance? These are some of the questions that interest me about, to speak with John Ionnidis, meta-science–i.e., thinking about science.

    Working Papers:

    • Steenbergen, Marco R. 2019. What Is in a (Non-)Significant Finding? Moving Beyond False Dichotomies. Manuscript. [SPSR19]
  • Populism

    Measuring and understanding populism at the mass and party elite levels.

    What is populism? How do we measure it? How common is it in mass publics? What about political parties? These are the questions that preoccupy me in this project.

  • Political Methodology
  • Political Psychology
  • Political Parties
  • Democratic Politics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Meta-Science