Thomas J. Leeper
I teach and conduct research on comparative public opinion, social science methodology (especially survey and experimental methods), and the R statistical programming language. Much of my research focuses on the role of information in politics, particularly how citizens use information from media and political elites to form and update their opinions about political issues. That work has been funded by the US National Science Foundation, Danish Council for Independent Research, and the UK Economic and Social Research Council. I also develop methodological tools related to survey and experimental methods, internet-based research, reproducibility and replication, and computational social science. Part of my methodological research involves the development of research tools for the R programming language and environment, all of which can be found on my GitHub profile. I regularly teach methodological short courses on survey and experimental methods, including recently at Pompeu Fabra University, NTNU Trondheim, the ECPR Summer School on Parliaments, and the European University Institute.
Since 2015, I have been an Assistant Professor in Political Behaviour (Associate Professor from August 2017) in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. At present, I serve as the Government Department’s BSc Programme Director, overseeing our five BSc programmes. I teach research design for second-year undergraduates and (from 2017/18) a third-year seminar on the use of experimental methods in politics. At the MSc level, I teach a research seminar on public opinion and political psychology]. I also coordinate the interdisciplinary Political Behaviour Seminar series, participate in the School’s Behavioural Science Hub, and serve on the school’s Research Ethics Committee.
Prior to joining LSE, I was a Postdoc in the Institut for Statskundskab (Department of Political Science) at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark. At Aarhus, I was part of the POLIS Political Parties and Issue Strategies research group, where I studied interactions between political parties and public opinion. I received my MA and PhD from the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University, where I was a graduate fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and served as founding coordinator of the Northwestern Political Science Research Lab (PSRL). My PhD dissertation focused on incorporating information choice and over-time dynamics into the study of political communication and opinion formation. A native of Minnesota, I previously studied at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a BA magna cum laude in Political Science and Global Studies.
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