Paddy is completing his PhD alongside his work at the Behavioural Insights Team.
Location: 1.02/1.03, 36-38 Gordon Sq.
Paddy is completing his PhD alongside his work at the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), where he is a Research Fellow working on the design and implementation of mixed-methods research and evaluation projects, including randomised controlled trials. Paddy specialises in the design and development of complex interventions in education and civic participation; combining his background in the education sector with research methods such as Theories of Change, Logic Models, pilot evaluations and implementation and process evaluations. Before joining BIT, Paddy spent nine years in the youth sector, specialising in active citizenship programmes for young people, with roles that included Head of Programmes at Envision and Director of Programmes and Impact at Youth United. He has a BSc in Physics and Philosophy from King’s College London and a MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.
PhD title and Short Abstract:
National voluntary service and young peoples’ political participation. Young people participate in formal political activities – voting, contacting politicians, petitioning and protest – in relatively low numbers. Many democratic governments have in recent decades implemented programmes of ‘service learning’ that purport to increase the level of civic engagement amongst young people. However, the evidence of the effect of service learning on political participation is disputed. There is a large amount of evidence to suggest that ‘Get Out the Vote’ (GOTV) campaigns can increase voter turnout, and to tell us what form and content a message should take to be most effective in this context. There is less evidence, however, on the effects of such campaigns on non-electoral political participation, and none at all when the target population is young people who have participated in national voluntary service. These are important gaps in the literature, as both non-electoral participation and programmes of national voluntary service are on the rise. This PhD comprises three main studies with the UK’s National Citizen Service (NCS). First a large-N quasi-experiment will test the effects of service learning on young people’s political efficacy and intention to participate politically. Second, a qualitative study will identify the potential causal mechanisms that link a service learning experience to future political participation, and the factors that moderate this effect. Third, a large-N randomised controlled trial will test the effect of different theory-informed messages on NCS graduates’ participation in a political letter writing competition.
- Youth political participation
- Citizenship education
- Causal inference
- Behaviour Change
- Public Policy and Governance
- Thoughts, Beliefs & Philosophy