2014 Seed Grants

To support the study of American democracy, Democracy Studies periodically funds seed grants for individual research projects.  In 2014, Democracy Studies awarded grants to the following research projects:


Vlad Kogan, Department of Political Science

Professor Kogan is taking a fresh look at the impact of nonpartisan elections on voter decision making.  Early advocates of nonpartisan ballots hypothesized that nonpartisan ballots would cause voters to make more deliberate decisions at the polls.  Professor Kogan’s research aims to establish whether, in the absence of party affiliation, voters use other forms of categorization and stereotyping to make their decisions and if so, what the unintended consequences of those decisions are.

Chris Walker, Moritz College of Law

Professor Walker is studying the role of federal agencies in the legislative process.  He has conducted more than 40 interviews with federal agencies to determine how agencies use legislative history and the knowledge they have acquired because of their involvement in the legislative process when interpreting the statutes that they administer.  Professor Walker also seeks to learn which organizational and collaborative models agencies employ in statute drafting.

Tom Wood, Department of Political Science

Professor Wood is examining American conspiracy theories to determine whether those conspiracy theories, which are equally and pervasively shared at all ends of the political spectrum, result from media consumption.  In undertaking this project, Dr. Wood is challenging the assumption held by many scholars that the presence of conspiracy theories co-varies with media consumption.

Graduate Students

Joshua Wood, Department of History

Joshua Wood, a Ph.D. candidate in Ohio State’s Department of History, is examining the democratic process in nineteenth century Ohio.  By looking at Ohio’s first constitutional convention and early citizenship court cases, Mr. Wood is studying how voting rights and personal interest shaped the enfranchisement and citizenship rights of early Ohioans.  Mr. Wood is also examining how early voter turnout was affected by factors including distance to polling locations and the quality of local roads.


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