Research Report – How Voters Decide

Students are required to conduct a research report. The research report should include a discussion of the chosen research question, a review of relevant literature, a testable hypothesis, and an analysis of secondary data carried out using SPSS.

Why are older people more likely to vote?

 Selecting your election (and data)

In addition to the general topic of your report, you will also need to decide which election you want to investigate. In the module, we have primarily focused on behaviour in general elections in Britain, but you are welcome to branch out to other elections (e.g., local elections, referendums, EP elections).  – EU REFERENDUM 2016/GE 2015


The introduction is one of the most important parts of a research paper. In this first section, you should give a (brief) general overview to your topic. Make sure your introduction introduces your research question and gives the reader a sense of why we should care about your topic. The introduction should tell us what you are going to conclude and lay out a clear structure for the rest of the report.

Literature review

What have other people already said on this topic? Use journal articles, books, government reports, and well-regarded think-tanks. No journalistic sources. Aim to point out some of the tensions in the literature, e.g. rival interpretations, 
flaws in the arguments, missing information; and lead to what you’re going to test in the report. 

Theory and Hypothesis

What is your answer to your research question? Your theory explains why you think your key predictor causes changes in the outcome. Theories may be developed logically or you can adapt an existing theory in the literature. You should also have at least one hypothesis between a key predictor and your outcome of interest. The hypothesis should also indicate the nature of the relationship (i.e., positive or negative) between the predictor and the outcome. Deductive hypotheses with quantitative research follow the standard quantitative formatting, which means numbering them H1, H2, etc.

Data and measurement

Once you have laid your hypothesis, you have to give the reader a sense of how you will test it. What country/election have you chosen? What data are you using? How many respondents were included and when/how was the data collected? How do you measure your key concepts? Why are these good measures of the phenomena you are interested in?

This section should also give the reader a sense of your variables. Specifically, you should discuss the measurement of:

                              your key outcome variable

                              your key predictor variable

                              any control variables you choose to include (a minimum of two relevant control variables are required) Remember that replicability is the gold standard in quantitative research; this section should give the reader the information necessary to replicate your report.


The analysis section should present the findings of your research and lead us to clear answers to your research question. The data analysis must be conducted using SPSS. The analysis section must include the following:

                              At least one chart (if you have used a chart in the data and measurement section, this will satisfy the requirement.)

                              At least one appropriate bivariate test between a key predictor and an outcome. 

                              At least one multivariate test (i.e., regression or logistic regression), which includes at least two relevant control variables.


Quick recap of the most important evidence and findings of your research. You should raise some implications of your findings. You may take the opportunity to make policy recommendations based on what you found. You could also suggest avenues for further research: what interesting questions were thrown up by the research that merit more attention but simply were not feasible to address in the confines of this research report?


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