UT Professor Bruce Buchanan
Spring 2010 Site ReviewPosition: Research Fellow
Student: Government Senior
I worked as a research assistant with Professor Buchanan for my Liberal Arts internship. The internship centered on his latest book titled, “How Americans Judge President.” Professor Buchanan has made tremendous progress on the topic of presidential accountability through many conference papers and publications about the Presidential Accountability System. His next area of analysis will focus on how Americans judge presidents. The research needed for this topic includes a personal interview process, writing transcriptions of the interviews, coding them into a system of data, and then writing up the results that will be used for evidence of his book.
The logistics for the internship revolve around daily work. Monday afternoons at 3:00 PM, Professor Buchanan and I will meet for critique session where I show him the work I’ve done throughout the week. There, he will review my work to be certain I’ve correctly evaluated my research. He will also use this time to instruct me on new details of the social science he plans to incorporate with his book. The remaining four days, I will go into Batts Hall and work on the projects he has assigned under other research assistant supervision. Those projects include: listening to interviews, coding, analyzing data, inputting them into software devices, and writing up the results and brainstorming creative additions to the research process. I worked a minimum of ten hours a week and no more than fifteen.
This internship was very insightful for the professional aspect of the career of a professor. I’ve fortunately learned the variety of procedures involved with the career of an academic scholar by observing how a professor takes an idea for a book, and develop it into an actual published work. I have definitely gained intangible experience with social science research, the creation of research methods, and how to write up results based on those to support a given hypothesis. I thought this internship was extremely valuable for one who considers advancing an interest in political science, graduate school, and perhaps the pursuit of being a professor.