Thomas J. Leeper
I am 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. I teach research methodology on the department’s various BSc programmes and political psychology for the MSc programmes in Political Science & Political Economy and Comparative Politics. I also coordinate the interdisciplinary Political Behaviour Seminar series and serve on the school’s Research Ethics Committee.
My research on individuals’ public opinions primarily focuses on the role of information in politics. I am particularly interested in how mass attitudes reflect an interaction between the broader information environment - including the mass media and political elites - and individual-level attributes - namely citizens’ expressed behaviors, psychological traits, social identities, motivation, and opinions. Using both survey and experimental methods, I attempt to study public opinion and political behavior from the perspectives of social and cognitive psychology, mass communication, and democratic theory. Additionally, I am currently engaged in ongoing methodological projects related to nonrandom treatment assignment, internet-based research, survey experimental methodology, and sample-related validity concerns. I have taught numerous methodological short courses on survey and experimental methods, including at Pompeu Fabra University and the European University Institute.
Beyond my political science research, I also develop an array of software for the R programming language and environment and participate in the rOpenSci, rOpenGov, rOpenHealth, and cloudyr development projects. Much of my software development has been informed by my extensive experience teaching research methodology to undergraduate and postgraduate students. You can find all of my software work on GitHub.
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 (with an emphasis on European politics and society).
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