McDougall Trust

Promoting public understanding
of electoral democracy

Research and Information Dissemination supported by McDougall Trust grants:   

Doing Democracy Better: How Can Information and Discourse in Election and Referendum Campaigns in the UK Be Improved?  Report published March 2019

McDougall Trust grant funded this important and timely research project at the Constitution Unit UCL, led by Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Unit, with Michela Palese, Research Assistant and McDougall Fellow.

Work of this project was drawn upon by the Independent Commission on Referendums, supported by the Constitution Unit, which reviewed regulation and practice of referendums and developed recommendations for their use and conduct in the UK.  Their detailed reporrt was published on 10 July 2018, ISBN 978-1-903903-83-4.  

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The McDougall Trust Research Prize

In association with Political Studies Association [PSA] and its Elections, Public Opinion and Parties [EPOP] group:

McDougall Trust provides grant funding for a prize offered annually for the best postgraduate thesis at a UK university in the sphere of elections, electoral systems and representation.  The prize is awarded in the year following thesis.

Recent winners, with date of thesis, have been:

2022 - Dr Lotte Hargrave, University College London, for their thesis on The Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Politicians’ Behaviour and Voter Attitudes; SHARED WITH:

          - Dr Ceri Fowler, University of Manchester, for their thesis on Gender and Voting Behaviour at the United Kingdom’s 2016 Referendum on EU Membership

2021 -  Dr Matthew Barnfield, Queen Mary University of London, for a thesis on The Bandwagon Effect: How Popularity Information Affects Electoral Expectations and Voting Behaviour

2020 - Dr Anna Sanders, University of Manchester, for a thesis on What has been the Impact of Gendered Policies on Women’s Voting Behaviour? An Analysis of the 2015 British General Election

2019 - Dr Jessica Smith, Birkbeck College, University of London, for a thesis on Gendering Political Leadership: A Case Study of the UK, Examining Media and Voter Perceptions

2018 - Dr Katerina Tertytchnayam, University of Oxford, for a thesis on Shocks, the State, and Support Under Electoral Authoritarianism

2017 - Dr Rebecca McKee, University of Manchester, for a thesis on When, why, and how the substantive representation of ethnic minorities takes place in the UK Parliament House of Commons

2016 - Dr Lise Herman, London School of Economics and Political Science, for a thesis on The democratic merits of partisanship: A comparative analysis of party member discourse in France and Hungary

2015 - Dr Stuart Fox, University of Nottingham, for a thesis on Apathy, Alienation and Young People, The Political Engagement of British Millenials

[2014 - No prize awarded]

2013 - Dr Sophie Whiting, University of Liverpool, for a thesis on The Ideological Basis of “Dissident” Irish Republicanism

2012 - Dr Ignacio Jurado, Nuffield College Oxford, for a thesis on The Politics of Distribution

2011 - Dr James Dray, University of Oxford, for a thesis on Voter Turnout in Sub-Saharan Africa

2010 - Dr Roman Gerodimos, Bournemouth University, for a thesis on New Media, New Citizens: the Terms and Conditions of Online Civic Engagement

Other research supported by McDougall Trust grant making:

Queen Mary University of London - for research on Conservative party members' attitudes to coalition government, the process and the outcomes

Centre for Women and Democracy (based in Leeds) - to monitor the selection of female candidates for the posts of police and crime commissioners and to assess the outcomes

University of Exeter (in association with the New Zealand Election Study and the University of Auckland) for research on the New Zealand Electoral System referendum and general election of November 2011

Trinity [College] Foundation, Dublin, Ireland - to support research by mock ballot as part of the 2011 Irish National Election Study

University of Essex - to support research on media coverage of the UK's 2011 Alternative Vote referendum

University of Exeter and colleagues - to support third-wave internet research on voter attitudes to the UK's 2011 Alternative Vote referendum

University of Swansea - to support research on election administration in England, Wales and Scotland

Sheffield Hallam University - to support research on the history of, and attitudes towards, the single-member constituency seat at the time of the Third Reform Act (1884-85) and the early twentieth century in the United Kingdom and the wider British Empire

University of Reading - to support initial research for a Database of Electoral Systems Changes in Europe Since 1945

University of Essex - to support post-graduate student attendance at the Political Studies Association's Elections, Public Opinion and Parties specialist group post UK general election conference in September 2010

Institute of Welsh Politics at Aberystwyth University - to support research into the conduct of national and local campaigns in the March 2011 referendum on the granting of primary legislative powers to the National Assembly for Wales

University of the West of England - to support research on the memberships of three significant smaller national parties in Britain

Examples of information dissemination supported by McDougall Trust grant making:


Electoral Reform International Services Annual Democracy Lecture (October 2012) - hosted by the European Parliament's Office in London and delivered by Mohsen Mazouk, Secretary-General of the Arab Democracy Foundation in Doha and a member of the Tunisian Higher Commission for the Revolution's Objectives, Political Reform, and Democratic Transition in Tunisia on the subject of the current state of democracy in Tunisia and across North Africa, and current perceptions on the Arab Spring

Electoral Reform International Services Annual Democracy Lecture (November 2010) - also supported by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and delivered in London by Asma Jahangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and Chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, on the subject of the interplay between democracy, good government and human rights in Pakistan

Institute of Welsh Affairs (based in Cardiff) - in support of a publication reviewing coalition formation in the National Assembly for Wales

Wilton Park Trust (based at Steyning, West Sussex) - to support attendance at a major international conference on deepening democracy by representatives of relevant non-governmental organisations from developing countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe)

Queen's University Belfast - to support a project by ARK (Access, Research, Knowledge) to improve accessibility to Northern Ireland election results by collating and making available electronically over 30 data sets of referendum and election results at all levels since 1973



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