About us

The Democracy, Citizens and Elections Research Network (DCERN) is housed in the Institute for Social Change (ISC) and is Co-directed by Professor Rachel Gibson and Dr Andrew Russell.

We research and provide expertise on issues including:

  • electoral behaviour
  • electoral systems
  • electoral geograph
  • political parties
  • campaigns
  • political marketing
  • formal methods and rational choice
  • representation
  • legislatures
  • policy outcomes
  • deliberation
  • social capital, citizenship and participation
  • theories of democracy

Approaches and methods

We are committed to research excellence using a wide range of approaches and methods. We conduct empirical research, examining and explaining what happens, theoretical research, exploring the foundations of rules and behavior, and normative research, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of democratic institutions and practices. Our empirical research uses a variety of data sources and research methods including statistical techniques, experimental and quasi-experimental designs, and qualitative methods; we work in single-country and comparative contexts. Our theoretical research involves formal modelling of political behaviour and interaction, including rational actor theory and its variants. Our normative research draws on several different moral and political perspectives within democratic theory and more widely.

International Advisory Board

Professor Shaun Bowler - University of California, Riverside
Professor Russell Dalton - University of California, Irvine
Professor Cees van der Eijk - Nottingham
Professor Robert Goodin - Australian National University
Professor Ian McAllister - Australian National University
Professor Pippa Norris - Harvard
Professor Matthew Shugart - University of California, San Diego