Visualizing Policy Agendas
The Policy Agendas Project directed by Bryan D. Jones of the Department of Government, uses the power of images to turn raw information into concrete concepts that can be used for both teaching and research.
The project was developed to address the study of wide-scale changes in United States public policy across time, across agencies, and throughout the general public. Researchers started with primary evidence, such as Executive Orders, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court cases, and Gallup polls. Then, they applied a codebook that indexes the material by topics of interest, such as Agriculture, Environment, Energy, and Foreign Trade.
“The magic is the Trend Analysis Tool,” says Dr. Jones, “which allows users on the fly to study an issue across different institutions over time. To offer this “on the fly” through interactive technology adds tremendous value. We are so pleased to work with LAITS, and particularly programmer Geoff Boyd, who really understood our needs and helped us develop many new features, such as the ability for users to download images and selected parts of datasets. We just can’t thank the college enough for their support.”
To activate the tool, a user selects a dataset including: a topic, a measure of count or percentage, the type of graph desired, and on what axes to map the data and the period of time. The result is a custom-generated graph, which can then be juxtaposed with unlimited other graphs. Researchers find that these results confirm, illuminate, and sometimes truly surprise their expectations.
Here are some samples of interesting results using the Trend Analysis Tool:
Recently, the project was enhanced with the addition of even more primary datasets. The Policy Moods dataset, compiled by James A. Stimson and K. Elizabeth Coggins, reveals the aggregate 'Mood' of public sentiments cross left/right political lines. The Encyclopedia of Associations dataset, compiled by Frank R. Baumgartner, John D. McCarthy, and Shaun Bevan, classifies basic information about thousands of U.S. associations across Policy Agendas major topic codes. Also, several other project datasets have been updated with observations from recent years, bringing the range of data periods available from 1947 to 2012.
Try out the tool via this link:
Click here to join the Policy Agendas mailing list for data notifications.
For further information, contact Trey Thomas, Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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