Research Areas

Main Areas of Research Expertise

Our faculty members are extensively involved in research across Canada, the United States, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Their expertise addresses a range of issues and subject matters; including multilevel governance, intergenerational justice, cross-national voting behaviour, international climate negotiations, democratization, urban politics, international political economy, and political leadership. 

Their main areas of research expertise focus on the following fields of political science:

  • Canadian Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Local Government
  • Public Administration
  • Political Theory
  • International Relations

Featured Faculty Research

Professor Armstrong

Named Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Political Methodology, Professor Armstrong will focus on how to bring new research tools into Social Science. A traditional quantitative approach in Social Science focuses on testing hypotheses in smaller groups or samples and infers conclusions about the entire population from that information. 

Professor Stephenson

Heading a new Western-led partnership that aims to take the pulse of Canadian democracy (Consortium on Electoral Democracy (C-dem) and improve the health of electoral participation with a newly awarded $2.5 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Professor Alcantara

Professor Alcantara, together with a team of researchers from Guelph University, received $371,300 from the Insight Grants program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to study collaborative relationships between First Nations and municipalities in Ontario towards the goal of creating water-sharing agreements.

Professor Quinn

Professor Quinn, has been selected as President-Elect of The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. The RSC is Canada's first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership who, at an early stage in their career, have demonstrated a high level of achievement. 

Professor Bousfield

Professor Bousfield is the 2017 recipient of the Marilyn Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching at Western. Bousfield’s aim is to make the learning experience more accessible for his students, experimenting with technology and social media in his classes aiming to make lessons applicable for students. 

Professor Taylor

The Faculty of Social Science has awarded a Faculty Research Development Fund grant to Professor Taylor, who will use it to digitize neighbourhood-scale data from the 1951, 1956, 1961, and 1966 Canadian Census and  has also published his new book, Shaping the Metropolis: Institutions and Urbanization in the United States and Canada.

Professor Harmes

In the first comprehensive account of the left-right politics of multilevel governance across federal, regional, and global levels, Professor Harmes identifies both free-market and interventionist political projects related to fiscal federalism in his new book, The Politics of Fiscal Federalism: Neoliberalism vs Social Democracy in Multilevel Governance published by McGill-Queen's University Press, 2019.

Professor Turgeon

Professor Turgeon focuses his research on political behaviour, studying how citizens form and develop political opinions and process political information. His previous research has focused on political behaviour in a variety of countries, including Canada, France, the US and Brazil. Most of his recent work researched the impact of compulsory voting regulations in Brazil. 

Professor Finneron-Burns

Researching obligations to future generations, Professor Finneron-Burns investigates how we make decisions related to these concerns. It's obvious that many of the policy decisions we make will affect the quality of life future people will enjoy.  Finneron-Burns takes these considerations a step further, and looks at how our responses to concerns may impact how many people, and who, may even exist in the future.

Research Groups

Image of Weldon Library

The Political Science Department pursues interdisciplinary research through three flourishing research groups. Western ranks as one of the top 10 research-intensive universities in Canada. Social Science at Western transcends disciplinary boundaries while recognizing the excellence of individual scholars and research groups who work in more narrowly defined areas. Featured belo two of our faculty-led research groups: the Centre for the Study of Political Behaviour, and the Electro-Governance Group. To learn more about the Centres, Institutes, and Groups at Western, please visit Research Funding.

Featured Research Groups

Centre for the Study of Political Behaviour

The study of political behaviour is central to our understanding of participatory democracy. Political behaviour encompasses key aspects of democratic citizenship, including:

  • participation in the political process
  • voting in elections
  • political parties and interest groups
  • public opinion
  • attitudes toward political institutions, processes, policy and politicians

Co-directed by Political Science Professors Cameron Anderson and Laura Stephenson, the goal of the Centre for the Study of Political Behaviour is to promote scholarship in all aspects of political behaviour through collaboration, discussion and dissemination. Below is a list of faculty affiliated with the Political Behaviour Research Group:

  • Christopher Alcantara, Political Science
  • Zachary Taylor, Political Science
  • Dave Armstrong, Political Science
  • Robert Anderson, Sociology, Political Science and Statistics
  • Andrea Lawlor, Political Science, Kings
  • Julie Aitken Harris Schermer, DAN Management and Organizational Studies Program
  • Edward Bell, Sociology, Brescia
  • Neil Bendle, Ivey Business School
  • Paul Nesbitt-Larking, Political Science, Huron University College
  • Al Slivinski, Economics
  • Alex Benson, Psychology
  • Miranda Goode, Ivey Business School

The Electro-Governance Group (EGG)

Societies, harnessed with the power of new information and communication technologies, have crossed over into an electronic/digital frontier.  It has become commonplace to talk about ‘big data’ as the defining feature of current and future global, digitally-networked societies.  Today, not only are questions of public governance and accountability fundamentally connected to the governance of information, but more and more, societies are being managed and governed electronically and digitally by way of informational databases and processes.  Every discipline and sector is affected by the increasing volume, velocity, variety and complexity of digital information, and currently, a preponderant amount of research is devoted to analyzing, mining, managing, and monetizing these exponentially growing networks of information. What remains underdeveloped and underfunded, we would argue, is research committed to critically questioning, challenging, and re-imagining the nature and scope of electronic/digital governance and its paradigm of ‘big data’. We welcome all on- and off-campus researchers interested in exploring these issues with us and encourage you to participate in The EGG's activities.

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