Renewing Party Politics? Digital Innovations in Political Campaigning

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Politics

Abstract

The link between citizens and the state is the crux of democratic politics, yet it is crumbling. Numerous studies have diagnosed a crisis in representative politics with decreased participation and growing levels of distrust bringing the legitimacy of democratic institutions into doubt. For many a solution has been offered by digital technology, leading parties to embrace new digital campaigning software. To explore the capacity of digital innovations to renew democracy this study argues that we need to understand the nature of the 'disconnect' between parties and the people.

As such, this study departs from traditional analyses of 'digital democracy' by focusing on public attitudes. Adapting the methodological approach used by Allen and Birch (2015) the project will discern how the public and parties conceive democratic linkage in practice and as an ideal, highlighting contradictions and convergence to diagnose the problem. Correlating these insights to the functions of digital software and theories of democratic linkage (Dalton, Farrell and McAllister, 2011) the capacity of digital innovations to renew party politics is considered.

To enable analysis 3 work packages (WP) are conducted.

WP1: How do parties perceive democratic linkage, and how have parties used digital management systems since 2010?
WP1 will first identify available forms of the type of digital innovation of interest to this project - namely 'digital management software' - and will categorise the functions they perform. Second, it will explore and develop theories of democratic linkage to provide a framework for subsequent analysis. Then, using interviews, internal party data and 3 case studies of constituency parties (1 from Labour, the Conservatives and Scottish National Party) the PI and RA will map perceptions of democratic linkage and usage of digital technology. This data will provide new insight on developments in party politics and will be used to produce case study accounts and articles that trace the form of change and consider the impact of digital technology on party organisation.

WP2: How do citizens perceive democratic linkage, and how does parties' use of digital management systems affect public attitudes?
Work package 2 explores the impact of new technology. Working with YouGov the PI will commission 2 surveys. The first will assess public attitudes towards parties', seeking to discern how the public want parties to engage and how they perceive this to work in practice. Data will be analysed to identify conceptions of democratic linkage (WP1) and then compared with party attitudes to identify synergies and incongruities in public and party conceptions. This analysis offers a diagnosis of the state of current linkage, and will identify areas of 'disconnect' to be further examined in WP3.

This WP will also probe public attitudes towards parties' use of digital campaigning techniques. Utilising a split sample survey, designed in collaboration with Dr Chris Jones, the PI will assess whether practices such as social media data mining are compatible with public notions of democratic linkage. This will inform an article, infographics and practitioner briefing papers.

WP3: Can digital campaigning methods resolve the disconnect between citizens and the state?
In collaboration with the think tank Involve, the PI will use 3 deliberative events to explore parties' and citizens' attitudes towards democratic linkage and test the capacity of different forms of digital technology to reconcile these perceptions. Building on survey data these events will test attitudes; exploring whether sustained reflection affects how public and party desires are conceived (drawing on work by Stoker, Hay and Barr, forthcoming). Events will identify ideal forms of linkage - findings that will be used, returning to WP1, to consider the capacity of different forms of digital technology to promote linkage and hence renew party politics.

Planned Impact

This project is constructed to facilitate knowledge exchange and public debate. The PI's research to date has benefited from close working with practitioners in the Cabinet Office, the Irish Department for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and Sheffield City Council that have enabled high quality, impactful research. The PI will build on this experience, working with the Labour Party, Conservative Party and Scottish National Party (SNP), the think tank Involve and with YouGov to provide the PI with access to established networks, expert oversight and training on new methodological approaches. This partnership is key to delivering tangible impact.

First, the PI will work closely with three UK political parties: Labour, the Conservatives and the SNP (see CfS for rationale). The PI has already secured access to the Labour Party and has gained support from Ian McNichol, Labour's General Secretary (see attached letter). Similar partnerships will be secured with the Conservatives and SNP during the project. These links will enable access and will be used to disseminate findings directly to those determining party strategy - a task for which David Blunkett will provide guidance. This project's interest in exploring unanticipated impacts of digital technology and the potential disconnection between public desires and party objectives will help inform parties' internal strategic development. The project will engage other institutions experiencing a 'disconnect' using a workshop in Parliament to discuss how to re-forge linkage.

Second, the PI will work with YouGov, a leading polling company, to conduct public opinion surveys, and split survey response analyses designed to provide new insight on public attitudes towards parties and the impact of digital campaigning methods. Extended discussions have occurred with YouGov President, Peter Kellner, and YouGov staff to design the most appropriate methodological tools for this project. As part of this relationship, YouGov will work with the PI to provide methodological guidance on the design, implementation and analysis of surveys - equipping the PI with skills essential to her on going research in this area. In addition YouGov will also provide access to existing data archives (with appropriate data protection considerations), ensuring that this project does not duplicate existing work, but adds to understanding. This data will be used to stimulate public debate on the purpose of parties and the consequences of digital tools, with the PI producing infographics and exploring the possibility of a blog post for the YouGov website.

Third, the PI has built close relationships with the think tank Involve; developing objectives in partnership with this organisation's focus on 'people and politics'. The partnership will see the PI work alongside experts in deliberative facilitation to execute three deliberative workshops. The data produced through this work will inform academic outputs and a report for Involve on the future of party politics. Social media resources and a blog will also be produced. These resources will be disseminated through Involve's extensive networks and will advance debate on the future of party politics and the desirability of different innovations - topics pertinent to an array of democratic bodies considering adopting these tools.

Fourth, the PI has recruited a panel of mentors who will help to maximise the impact of this research. The combination of an internationally renowned academic, a retired cabinet minister and a leading pollster and journalist will provide guidance and contacts that the PI will use to connect with a range of different policy, media, academic and public audiences. Outputs pursued include national media appearances, an event in Parliament to disseminate project findings, and the production of infographics and social media posts.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Infographics 
Description A local designer produced 12 infographic designs to illustrate the key findings of our report. These were disseminated on social media to share the findings of our research 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Used to foster public debate and raise awareness of project findings on social media 
 
Description This award has enabled a wide-ranging programme of research that has looked at public attitudes towards political parties, the way in which parties are using digital technology, and party membership and organisation. Gathering mixed method data that project has enabled me to develop existing understanding of the way that political parties are viewed, to generate new insight into what citizens' desire from parties, and to explore the practices and implications of recent trends in digital technology.

The most significant achievement of the award has been the diagnosis of a public desire for parties to be 're-imagined'. This empirical and theoretical insight forms the core of the book being authored on project findings. It has also informed a project report widely disseminated to practitioners.

The award has also contributed to my own development in many ways. I have been able to substantially develop my own competencies, gaining new expertise in survey methodology, conducting focus groups and analysing quantitative data. I have also established an international reputation for my research that is being recognised in numerous invitations to speak about this research. In addition, I have developed a wide network in this field and am now in regular contact with practitioners, especially those interested in digital campaigns. As a result of this grant I have secured further funding from my research and am now leading internationally comparative research grant applications.
The specific findings of this research are as follows:

Public Attitudes Towards Parties

It is widely understood that parties are viewed in negative terms, but this research project has generated important new insight into how these organisations are viewed. Unlike many previous studies, this research has showed that there are important variations in how people think about parties. In some areas, parties are seen to live up to people's desires, whilst in other areas they are out of kilter with what the public would like to see.

Generating survey data from a national representative sample, and conducting 3 deliberative workshops, this research has shown that people do have negative views of parties. Indeed, 77 per cent of people are fairly or very dissatisfied with political parties. The top words used to describe political parties by workshop participants included 'unrepresentative', 'undemocratic', 'self-interested' and 'divided'. However, we also found that many people think it is possible for parties to be reformed. Forty-six per cent of people said parties need major reform, 26 per cent said that reforming parties is pointless and they can't be made to work, while 25 per cent said parties need minor reform and three per cent said they work well and do not need reform at all.

Thinking about this data, we looked at what people wanted from parties, and asked whether parties were living up to people's desires. Drawing on theories of democratic linkage, we asked about people's desires for representation, participation and governance. We also drew on theories of political conduct to ask about what people wanted from parties in terms of political behaviour. Our research showed that there are aspects of representation, participation and governance where people do not feel parties are realising their desires. For example, when thinking about participation, 59% of survey respondents felt that 'There should be more opportunities for people to get involved in political parties', and people particularly wanted to see mechanisms of engagement that showed the impact of getting involved. The survey also showed that people wanted to see different requirements for involvement for different activities. In terms of governing, we found that 87% of people don't think that political parties keep their promises, whilst 82% didn't feel they delivered good outcomes. We also found evidence that parties weren't seen to behave as desired. Distilling people's desires, we identified 7 principles people want to see in parties' conduct, highlighting the need for parties that are 1) transparent, 2) communicative, 3) reliable, 4) accessible, 5) principles, 6) inclusive, and 7) that act with integrity.
This data suggests that people have desires for parties that are currently not being realised. However, it should be noted that different types of people tend to answer these questions in different ways, and it is not the case that the public view parties in the same way. People with low levels of trust in parties, for example, tend to feel that parties are not behaving in line with ideas more than people who report high levels of trust. This suggests that there are no simple agenda parties can implement to satisfy everyone's demands, but there do appear to be certain areas in which parties may want to think about how they are viewed.

Cumulatively, these insights show that public opinion towards parties in complex. However, the analysis has offered an important theoretical and empirical contribution. It has demonstrated that there is not a desire for radical change in how politics is conducted, but rather a wish from many for parties' activities to be 're-imagined'. This argument forms the core of the argument for the book currently being prepared based on project findings.

Parties' use of Digital Tools

The second main element of this research looked at parties' use of digital tools. Over recent years, UK political parties have invested heavily in digital, both for political campaigning and internal organisation. This project has explored elite strategies in the adoption of digital tools and has shown that whilst some parties are interested in using digital to change the way that they interact with citizens, in practice, they have focused on using digital to control activists and to disseminate their message. The project has offered new insight into how digital underpins the activities of parties, and has particularly explored the uptake of digital campaigning tools by national party HQs and by local party activists. The project has also explored the role of digital consultants, and the extent to which data-driven campaigning techniques are being adopted in the UK. The research has shown that whilst digital is being integrated into party activities, it is often not as sophisticated as it would appear from media accounts. Indeed, much party activity online remains relatively basic, and is not altering the ways in which parties and citizens interact. In one paper looking at the adoption of digital tools by grassroots activists, this paper highlights important factors that affect the adoption of digital tools and shows what party elites seeking to promote certain tools need to think about when rolling out a new initiative or idea.

An ongoing part of this research is new data on how citizens view digital tools, particularly when it comes to political campaigning. At present, the research team are working with Who Targets Me to look at public attitudes towards digital technology. Specifically, we are looking at the way in which people view advertisements on Facebook, and the degree to which they are aware of the way that their data is being used to target messages. This experimental research is still ongoing, but will provide new insight into public understanding of targeting, public views of targeting and data use with regard to trust and privacy, and public interactions with online advertising. These insights are significant given the increasing use of advertising by political parties.

Associated with this project, this research has also resulted in an article that maps our understanding of parties' use of Facebook advertising. Highlighting the paucity of available data on the amount parties' spend on data online, we have highlighted the need for reform of the way in which data is collected about parties' electoral spending. This paper has informed engagement with the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office around current election spending rules. In addition, the research for this project also highlighted real problems experienced by academics and practitioners when it comes to generating data about what is happening with campaigns online. As a result, this project has informed the creation of a new network of scholars interested in the study of political campaigns. These academics are working together to generate new methods for studying campaigning online, resulting in new collaborations and research projects.

Party Membership and Organisation

In addition, this project also looked at the issue of party membership and organisation. It explored how and why people become party members and thought about what parties and other membership organisations can do to increase their membership. Working with membership organisations such as the Green Party, Amnesty International, the Liberal Democrats and More United, we generated a new theory to explain why people join, become active, and remain members. The multi-stream theory of party membership helps us to understand membership, but also to think about how to increase membership levels and improve activism. Specifically, we argue that membership organisations should think about motivations, processes and triggers when considering membership. We argue that each component is important in informing an individuals' membership journey, and that each element needs to be working effectively to incentive membership and activism.

Producing knowledge on these three fronts, the project went beyond its envisaged remit.
Exploitation Route The empirical findings of this research could be used in a number of different ways.

In regards to our findings about public attitudes towards parties. Our research provides a resource for parties and politicians keen to think about how they are viewed. Reacting to this data, these actors may want to do one of three things. They may want to think about whether they need to:
a) Make changes to bring their party more in line with public desires;
b) Promote the ways in which they already enact public desires; or
c) Challenge people's ideas and offer an alternative set of benchmarks against which they feel they should be being judged.
These different courses of action inspire alternative responses to our findings. They suggest that some parties might want to pursue programmes of reform, some may want to improve how they communicate what they do to the public, whilst others might want to try and lead debate on how parties should behave. Whichever course of action is pursued, parties need to remain aware of the difficulties they face in changing public perceptions.

In regards to data on digital campaigning, these findings can be used to understand challenges in the adoption of digital tools and to appreciate variation in how digital tools are being used. Specifically, at a grassroots level, the paper on digital adoption can be used to understand what prevents local activists' use of digital tools, helping to inform strategies to promote the desired use of digital tools. My research has also been used by the Electoral Commission and other government, media and industry actors in this area. Specifically the paper on Facebook advertising and digital campaigning practices in 2017 has raised awareness of current practices and limitations in available data.

In regards to findings on membership, the framework we offer can be used to inform membership recruitment, engagement and retention strategies. Building on the recommendations published in the report 'The Membership Journey', organisations can develop new strategies for attracting and engaging members.

More broadly, this project provides new survey data into attitudes towards parties, and data from 3 deliberative focus groups that offers insight into how parties are viewed, and what characterises citizens' desires. The project also offers a database of interviews with party elites, consultants and grassroots activists that can be used to gain insight into modern parties and their use of digital tools.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

URL https://www.involve.org.uk/sites/default/files/field/attachemnt/final_-_what_people_want_from_parties_today.pdf
 
Description The findings of this project have culminated in the report: 'The Ideal Party: What People Want to See in Parties Today'. This report has been used to underpin a programme of public outreach and debate. The PI has provided briefings on this report to the national Green Party, and has posted copies of the report to all interviewees, workshop participants and other interested organisations to share research findings. In addition, the report has been used to lead public debate. 7 responses from leading stakeholders in this area have been made to the report on the website of the charity Involve. These include responses from Lord David Blunkett, Alexandra Runwick (Unlock Democracy), Jessica Garland (Electoral Reform Society), Mark Pack (Liberal Democrats). Infographics from the report have also been used on social media to highlight the findings of the research. In regards to work focused on membership. The findings of the Party Survey have been used by the Green Party, Liberal Democrats, Amnesty International, More United and the Women's Equality Party to inform them about people's desires for engagement with political parties. This is helping to feed into the Green Party's internal membership review, and is also being used to inform new work within the Women's Equality on member recruitment and engagement. In regards to work on digital campaigning. The findings of this research have informed consultation responses to inquiries being conducted by the DCMS Select Committee in the UK Parliament, by the Electoral Commission, the Cabinet Office and the APPG for Electoral Campaigning Transparency. Final reports from these committees have included insights from this research. In particular, this research informed submissions made by the PI to consultation on the Elections Bill, in particular in regards to advertising transparency and digital imprints. This work has also informed submissions made to the Parliament of Victoria, Australia and to the European Commission's Digital Services Act. The research also led to the PI being appointed Special Advisor to the House of Lords Committee on Democracy and Digital Technology. She has also been advising the Centre for Data Ethics on their Online Targeting Review. She has also been invited to a number of international and national practitioner conference and events to present on her digital work, including a session organised by the Privacy Commissioner in British Columbia, and a keynote to the Modern Studies Association in the Scottish Parliament. I have also attended numerous workshops at Wilton Park, the Royal Society and Cumberland Lodge to present on this work. I have also been invited onto policy calls with Facebook to discuss their work on political advertising online. More broadly, work on digital campaigning has informed a programme of public engagement, with a number of public talks and forthcoming invitations to speak at public events. I am, for example, scheduled to speak at a forthcoming conference at the University of Oxford on digital campaigning, have organised a public engagement event at the Festival of Debate which will include contributions from myself, Shamir Shadi (vote leave whistle blower) and the Electoral Reform Society. This work has also resulted in collaboration with the Electoral Commission in a British Academy funded project. This is looking at how data on digital campaigning practices can be gathered and will inform the Commission's campaigning monitoring activities. In addition I have offered input for articles in The Guardian and Buzzfeed News on developments in online political campaigning.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Advised incoming Green Party 'Membership Experience Manager on how to best recruit, engage and retain Green Party members, 3rd August 2018.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Electoral Commission Consultation
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/246119/Codes-of-Practice-on-spendi...
 
Description Submitted evidence to Cabinet Office consultation: Protecting the Debate: Intimidation, Influence, and Information.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/protecting-the-debate-intimidation-influence-and-informat...
 
Description Written evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Inquiry on Fake News.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description British Academy Rising Star
Amount £13,202 (GBP)
Funding ID EN\170107 
Organisation The British Academy 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2019
 
Description Data-driven campaigns: intended and unintended consequences for democracy [DATADRIVEN]' Norface Democratic Governance in Turbulent Times
Amount £910,565 (GBP)
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2020 
End 01/2024
 
Description Understanding online political advertising: perceptions, uses and regulation".
Amount £390,215 (GBP)
Funding ID RPG-2020-148 
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 12/2024
 
Description University of Sheffield IIKE Funding
Amount £20,940 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 07/2018
 
Title Deliberative Workshop Transcripts 
Description A database capturing the proceedings of the 3 deliberative workshops. The discussion amongst participants was transcribed, providing a searchable resource for other scholars 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None 
 
Title Public Opinion Survey 
Description A new 32 question public opinion survey conducted with 1500 members of the public via YouGov 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This database is producing new insight into my research questions and will be used to inform practitioner publications 
 
Description Collaboration with Green Party 
Organisation The Green Party of England and Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Multiple 
PI Contribution The Green Party for England and Wales have entered a collaboration for a spin-off project to look at party membership engagement. In addition, they have faciliatated interview access, and collaborative events
Collaborator Contribution Facilitated access to interviewees Facilitated focus groups Provided access to members Facilitated placement for RA
Impact A successful funding application Interviews and data collection
Start Year 2017
 
Description Academic Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I gave a talk based on the findings of this research entitled: The Digital Arms Race: The Rise (and Myths) of Online Election Campaigning'. This was attended by undergraduate and post-graduate students at the university, as well as academic colleagues
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Article: 'A New Ethos', The Fabian Review 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We were commissioned to write an article for Fabian Review on the findings of our research - this magazine gets sent to all members of the Fabian society and to MPs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Article: 'Can Political Parties Be Reformed?' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We wrote an article for the Political Studies Association magaine - political insight. This is sent in hard copy to all academics who are members of the PSA.
9th August 2018, (with L. Temple), 'Can Political Parties Be Reformed?', Political Insight, 9(3): 40
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Blog Post 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blog Post entitled 'Digital campaigning and the 2017 election: The rise of Facebook and satellite campaigns', posted on the Nottingham Univeristy Politics Blog: http://nottspolitics.org/2017/09/12/digital-campaigning-and-the-2017-election-the-rise-of-facebook-and-satellite-campaigns/'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://nottspolitics.org/2017/09/12/digital-campaigning-and-the-2017-election-the-rise-of-facebook-a...
 
Description Blog Post 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 1st November 2016, 'What Future for Party Politics?', Crick Centre Blog, http://www.crickcentre.org/blog/what-future-for-party-politics/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.crickcentre.org/blog/what-future-for-party-politics/
 
Description Blog: Digital technology is changing party politics, the interesting question is how 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We wrote a dissemination piece associated with the launch of our book chapter for the LSE Policy and Politics Blog
http://www.democraticaudit.com/2018/03/20/digital-technology-is-changing-party-politics-the-interesting-question-is-how/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.democraticaudit.com/2018/03/20/digital-technology-is-changing-party-politics-the-interest...
 
Description Briefed a journalist at the Economist following the publication of the Electoral Commission Report 'Digital campaigning: Increasing transparency for voters' in June 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I briefed a journalist at the Economist following the publication of the Electoral Commission Report 'Digital campaigning: Increasing transparency for voters' in June 2018. This was an hour long conversation designed to inform a subsequent article written by the journalist Hal Hodson
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description British Academy Blog Post: 'Three questions you should be asking about data-driven political campaigning', 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 8th October 2018, with Sam Power, 'Three questions you should be asking about data-driven political campaigning', The British Academy Blog, https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/three-questions-you-should-be-asking-about-data-driven-political-campaigning
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/three-questions-you-should-be-asking-about-data-driven-polit...
 
Description British Academy Rising Star - Workshop 1: Practitioner Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As the first element of my British Academy research, I held a half-day workshop at the British Academy.
This brought together industry practitioners, politicians, political staff, third sector charities, think tanks and academics to discuss the challenge of digital campaigning.
This event was attended by the Electoral Commission, who gave a formal presentation about their work on digital campaigning transparency
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description British Academy Rising Star - Workshop 2: Methodological Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The second workshop funded by the associated British Academy Grant. This workshop brings together academics and non-academic stakeholders to produce methodological solutions for the study of digital campaigning practices.
The 2-day workshop has been designed to fuel future collaborations and devise methods for future research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.crickcentre.org/crick-centre-hosts-british-academy-workshop-and-lecture-on-digital-campai...
 
Description Campaign Advice 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I met with a small group of local politicians including a local Parliamentary candidate to discuss campaign strategy around digital tools, presenting on the findings of research about best-practice in campaign tool adoption
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Converstion Article: 'Free membership to revive Liberal Democrat fortunes? The prospects aren't good' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This article was read by 919 people and provoked 12 comments from members of the public.
It was published the day before a major debate at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference and was subsequently re-posted on an internal Liberal Democrat NewsLetter - Newswire:

14th September 2018 (with L Temple), 'Free membership to revive Liberal Democrat fortunes? The prospects aren't good', The Conversation, https://theconversation.com/free-membership-to-revive-liberal-democrat-fortunes-the-prospects-arent-good-103126?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitterbutton.

Reposted on Newswire:
6th October 2018, Research Cited in Liberal Democrat Newswire a newsletter sent to thousands of Liberal Democrat Activists, ahead of their consideration of the Supporters' Network Scheme, 'https://us2.campaign-archive.com/?u=4761a1f83089fd89eba4fef19&id=bfa214b1bb&e=7346ca0a2e,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Deliberative Workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Three workshops held as data gathering exercises for the project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Green Party Conference Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Green Party Conference, presented findings of the report in the main conference hall, 7th October 2018 (approx. 150 people)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2018
 
Description Infographic Disemmination 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Using the findings of our report, and the infographics produced to illustrate our key findings, we disseminated key qualitative and quantitative insights from our work on social media. This was done using personal Twitter accounts, the Crick Centre account, and via Involve's social media
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description International Conference: The Future of Party Membership', 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We organised an international conference to gather together world leading scholars addressing the topic of membership.
This event was used to disseminate research findings, share learning and discuss new ideas

Organised International Conference Convenor - 'The Future of Party Membership', 12th-13th of September
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interviewed for: Another year, another vote. Is democracy burning out Brits?', Christian Science Monitor, 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed for an article in the Christian Science Monitor:
30th May 2017, 'Another year, another vote. Is democracy burning out Brits?', Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2017/0530/Another-year-another-vote.-Is-democracy-burning-out-Brits
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2017/0530/Another-year-another-vote.-Is-democracy-burning-out-...
 
Description LSE Blog: 'Membership organisations: how to boost numbers and activate engagement', 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Blog post to launch our membership report
20th September 2018, with Sam Power, 'Membership organisations: how to boost numbers and activate engagement', The LSE Blog, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-membership-journey/.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-membership-journey/
 
Description Labour List Blog: 'Labour Live is exactly what political parties should be doing', 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We wrote a blog post for the specialist audience on Labour list.
26th June 2018, (with S. Power) 'Labour Live is exactly what political parties should be doing', Labour List, https://labourlist.org/2018/06/labour-live-is-exactly-what-political-parties-should-be-doing/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://labourlist.org/2018/06/labour-live-is-exactly-what-political-parties-should-be-doing/
 
Description Media - BBC Radio 5 LIve 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Research Assistant Dr Sam Power Discussed Membership Challenge report on BBC Radio 5Live Question Time Extra Time with Adrian Chiles 4th October 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Media article: Local Government Chronicle 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact News article:
1st Feb 2019, 'The public hate politics - but what is it that they hate?', Local Government Chronicle , https://www.lgcplus.com/politics/governance-and-structure/the-public-hate-politics-but-what-is-it-that-they-hate/7027682.article?blocktitle=Top-stories&contentID=20100
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.lgcplus.com/politics/governance-and-structure/the-public-hate-politics-but-what-is-it-th...
 
Description New Statesman Blog: 'How the SNP gained 5,000 members - and how other parties could do the same', 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We authored a blog to promote our research on party membership for the New Statesman
Available here: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2018/06/how-snp-just-gained-5000-members-and-how-other-parties-could-do-same
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Newspaper Article: Yorkshire Post 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Newspaper article covering project research published on 23rd Jan 2019:
Majority of people dissatisfied with political parties, according to Yorkshire university's study

Read more at: https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/politics/majority-of-people-dissatisfied-with-political-parties-according-to-yorkshire-university-s-study-1-9547466
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/politics/majority-of-people-dissatisfied-with-political-...
 
Description Party Membership Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact We held a workshop in London attended by staff from the Green Party, Liberal Democrat Party, More United, Amnesty International and the Campaign for Rural England on the challenges of party membership.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Policy Network Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Workshop entitled 'Democracy in the twenty-first century: applying new thinking to old issues', I was an invited speaker at this event, talking about the topic of digital campaigning
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Politics Journal Blog: 'Political Parties have undermined the health of democracy, and only they can cure it' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact We wrote a blog post for the journal Politics to promote an article I had published with Dr Danny Rye - making our findings more accessible to a general audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Quoted in The Guardian, 'How Facebook is influencing the Irish abortion referendum', 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I was interviewed as part of a wider article looking at the use of Facebook in the Irish Abortion Referendum:
22nd May 2018, Quoted in The Guardian, 'How Facebook is influencing the Irish abortion referendum',
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2018/may/24/how-facebook-is-influencing-the-irish-a...
 
Description Report Launch - Blog Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact To accompany the launch of the project report, I commissioned 7 blog responses to the report from leading figures in the area. These included:
David Blunkett (Labour Peer)
Mark Pack (Liberal Democrat)
Jess Garland (Electoral Reform Society)
Professor Tim Bale (Academic)
Peter Kellner (YouGov President)
Simon Wooley (Operation Black Vote)
Alex Runswick (Unlock Democracy)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.involve.org.uk/resources/blog
 
Description Report Launch in Parliament 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On 26th of November, as part of the preparation for the launch of the project report, we held an information event in Parliament for MPs about the findings of our research.
This involved providing verbal summaries of the research and discussing its implications with MPs and their staff
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Research brief for the National Green Party 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact On 14th of November, I presented the findings of my research to the staff of the National Green Party of England and Wales. This was a 30 minute presentation of my findings, followed by a 30 discussion of their relevance to the Green Party.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Research featured in Liberal Democrat Newsletter - Newswire 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Our research was featured in the Liberal Democrat Newsletter

6th October 2018, Research Cited in Liberal Democrat Newswire a newsletter sent to thousands of Liberal Democrat Activists, ahead of their consideration of the Supporters' Network Scheme, 'https://us2.campaign-archive.com/?u=4761a1f83089fd89eba4fef19&id=bfa214b1bb&e=7346ca0a2e,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://us2.campaign-archive.com/?u=4761a1f83089fd89eba4fef19&id=bfa214b1bb&e=7346ca0a2e
 
Description St Georges House, Windsor Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 26th - 27th June 2017 - Invited Participant to workshop on 'Civic engagement: How can digital technology encourage greater engagement in Civic Society', St Georges House, Windsor.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The Rise of Digital Politics - Public Engagement Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a public lecture as part of the Off the Shelf festival held in Sheffield.
Around 40 people attended the hour long event that look place in Waterstones cafe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.offtheshelf.org.uk/event/rise-digital-politics/