January 20, 2016  

Purdue students attending Iowa caucus for field research experience

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ten Purdue University communication and political science undergraduate students will attend the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus to learn more about the political process and participate in field research.

The Campaigns and Elections Field Research Project is led by Josh Scacco, an assistant professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication. He also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Political Science. The students will arrive in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 30 and return on Feb. 2.

"This is an immersive field research opportunity for these juniors and seniors that is only possible every four years," said Scacco, who specializes in political communication. "The students will attend rallies, meet with media personnel, tour campaign headquarters and administer surveys about the candidates and election in general."

The project is in partnership with C-SPAN, and the program is supported by the Brian Lamb School of Communication, the Department of Political Science and the College of Liberal Arts.

The 10 students were selected by the departments' honor societies; Pi Sigma Alpha in the Department of Political Science, and Lambda Pi Eta, in the Brian Lamb School of Communication.

In advance of the trip, the students worked with Scacco on survey design and how to conduct surveys. The students also will analyze the data when they return and present their findings during a campus event in the spring.

"The opportunity to see the behind the scenes is unique, and the students will be able to personally observe what it is about Iowa voters that make the caucus so significant," Scacco said. 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: Josh Scacco, 765-496-0095, jscacco@purdue.edu 

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