Blog #3

Unfortunately, there has been delay in the research. Dr. Gosnell had to submit another proposal to Pace University’s Institutional Review Board at because there were changes: we originally thought that the survey would being 25-35 minutes long, but it is now 40-45 minutes long. Also, we had to adjust compensation, instead of it being $1.75, it is now $2.25. We remain hopeful that we will get the approval from the Institutional Review Board quickly so we can submit the work to MTurk.

We remain hopeful that the results of this research will be promising. The focus of this research is to figure out if there is a way to maintain close relationships despite having polarized political views. This research will hopefully inform us on how and why we maintain close-political party relationships and provide suggestions on how we can facilitate those relationships.

When we get the approval from IRB, we plan on using an online participant pool called MTurk. Our results will be coming from a diverse sample of participants from across the United States of American that represents the different political parties and variety of ages. Participants will be asked to reflect if they have had close and/or relationships while having different political views. They will also be asked about themselves as well as their relationship.

Blog #2

So far, Dr. Gosnell and I submitted the paper work needed to get IRB approval. We are still waiting for the approval, but as we are waiting, I am inputting the questionnaires into Qualtrics.

This research has an impact on my future plans because I am able to see how research is conducted. This research allows me to  be knowledgeable on the process of getting research approved. Right now, the challenging part of this research was the literacy research because there is so much information and at least for me, it was difficult to figure out what information is important for this research topic.

Once we get the IRB approval, we will be inputting the questionnaire to MTurk and having the participants do the survey.

Blog #1

The title of the research that Dr. Courtney Gosnell and I are doing is called “Examining Factors that Predict Relationship Maintenance vs. Dissolution in Cross-Political Party Close Relationships”. We will being using MTurk in order to get the data that is needed. We will be making up survey questions that will reflect how different political views have/haven’t affected close relationships.

The purpose of this project is to better understand how interpersonal and personal relationships can be maintained or ruined due to have opposing political views. The political divide between the two primary political parties in America has been intensifying. The majority of people (81% from both parties) have negative views of those on the “other side” and many report that the majority of their friendships are now with those who share their political views (67% of Democrats, 57% of Republicans; Foran, 2017). Political differences are increasingly cited as a primary reason for divorce and almost 1/3 American couples report that political clashes over the presidency of Donald Trump have created significant issues within their relationship (Bedard, 2017).  So, what is causing relationships to fracture over politics? A large part of it is likely that people are reading more into political differences. A recent Pew research report found that the majority of those polled thought that someone who had different views on President Trump’s performance also likely had different goals and values than themselves (Tyson, 2018). Instead of seeing that a friend, romantic partner, or family member simply has “different views on President Trump”, individuals are instead seeing these close others as suddenly alien—without the shared values that were likely previously assumed to be a key foundation of the relationship. Despite the frequent news stories and anecdotal evidence on how politics are fracturing relationships, there has not been an extensive amount of academic research on the topic. There is ample research on how party members perceive opposing party members—but these dynamics have been rarely examined in the context of close relationships. However, this type of work is extremely important to understanding how individuals can maintain important close relationships in a politically divided world. In addition, we know from extensive research into group dynamics, that having a close friend or family member from the “outgroup” and having greater interpersonal contact with an outgroup member can reduce prejudice and discrimination towards the outgroup and promote greater understanding (e.g., Wright, Aron, McLaughlin-Volpe, & Ropp, 1997; Dovidio, Gaertner, & Kawakami, 2003).

In our study, we will use an online participant pool (MTurk) to get diverse participants across the United States that represents both political parties and different age groups. Dr. Gosnell has received a Dyson Faculty Summer Grant that will allow data collection via MTurk to be financially possible. Participants will be asked about cross-political party close relationships that they have currently or that have dissolved or grown distant due to opposing political views. They will also be asked questions about themselves (e.g. political affiliation, strength of affiliation, motives for affiliation, personality) as well as their relationships (e.g., relationship satisfaction, prior support provision, investment/dependence on relationship, political communication within the relationship, etc.). This will allow us to examine which of these factors might best predict maintenance or dissolution of cross-party close relationships.

Since political intolerance in the United States is growing, it is important to understand the factors that allow us to maintain close relationships with those that have opposite politic views. Since there is not a lot of research on this topic, our research can play a vital role in increasing our understanding of how and why we maintain cross-party relationships and can eventually lead to interventions that could better promote healthy cross-party relationships.