The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Collaborative Research Projects

Student working on laptops around a table in the Student Activities Center.
Within the Government Department, we have created several lab-like intergenerational research spaces that foster collaboration among and research productivity for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty alike. These spaces bring together undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, to teach, train, mentor, and co-author. Many graduate students make one of these spaces their intellectual home shortly after arriving to find mentorship, research collaborations, critical feedback, and support.


Collaborative Project Spotlights
Research collaborations between faculty and graduate students help students learn about the publication process firsthand. Read about recent collaborative projects between our faculty and graduate students, even before they lead to a publication.

Since January 2013, Innovations for Peace and Development has provided a space for interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on global conflict and peacebuilding, foreign aid, and  poverty alleviation at the University of Texas at Austin. IPD democratizes engagement in academic research and policy work for students at all stages of their university education, with particular emphasis on the recruitment and training of women and underrepresented groups. IPD students learn valuable skills, ranging from geographic information system (GIS) mapping to randomized experimental methods, as they work on collaborative research teams and manage their own projects. IPD is directed by Professor Mike Findley (Government), Professor Rachel Wellhausen (Government), and Professor Catherine Weaver (LBJ School for Public Affairs).

Politics of Race and Ethnicity Lab
The Politics of Race and Ethnicity Lab (PRE-Lab) is home to a cluster of scholars interested in race and ethnic politics. We do research on racial discrimination, language policies, religious nationalism, policing and criminal justice, state bureaucracies, immigration attitudes, and right-wing voting – amongst others. We study these topics from both an American context and a global perspective – while leveraging our comparative advantage with being in Texas. Government professors Amy Liu and Eric McDaniel co-direct the Lab. Please check out our website to learn more about the members of the lab, our ongoing projects, and the courses we offer – including a practicum for undergraduates. 

The Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute
The Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute (PPI) researches public policy issues salient to the State of Texas and its growing Latino/Hispanic population, including topics like education, migration, law enforcement, voting and elections, and naturalization and citizenship, to name just a few. Professor David Leal (Government) directs the PPI.

The Comparative Agendas Project (CAP) collects and organizes data from archived sources to track policy outcomes across countries.

The Policy Agendas Project
The Policy Agendas Project (PAP) collects and organizes data from various sources to trace changes in the national policy agenda and public policy outcomes since the Second World War. Online resources allow users to trace, graph, and download data series on policy changes in the U.S. since the Second World War. Altogether, the U.S. project encompasses over 19 unique datasets. Both PAP and CAP (above) are headed by Professors Bryan Jones and Derek Epp.

The Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP) is directed by Zachary Elkins (Government), together with Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago) and James Melton.  The project produces comprehensive data about the world’s constitutions in order to understand the origins and consequences of constitutional choices, and to assist those revising constitutions. Since the project’s launch in 2005, the CCP has collected and analyzed thousands of constitutional texts, and produced a series of datasets that the researchers update continually.   In 2013, CCP partnered with Google Ideas (now Jigsaw) to create Constitute, a website that contains a richly indexed set of texts for nearly every national constitution in the world.

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas aims to introduce undergraduates to the liberal arts through the study of the great books. It provides teaching and mentorship opportunities for advanced graduate students. The Jefferson Center is headed by Professors Tom and Lorraine Pangle (Government).

Texas schools and universities invest millions of dollars each year in state-mandated instruction on the workings of Texas government. But most Texans remain uninterested in or, worse, unfamiliar with how their government works. Elections and extraordinary news events may spark brief public interest. But Texans' engagement with their government, like voter turnout in Texas, remains stagnant. The Texas Politics project seeks to confronts these problems. It is headed by Professor James Henson (Government).

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