Queen's University

First year students map their political ideology

 
2009-10-26

Political Studies professor Jonathan Rose has come up with an inventive way to engage his first year students about political ideology. He’s had them take an online test about political beliefs and he’s mapped the results.

“Many of my students have political opinions, but hadn't really thought about their political values and ideological orientation,” says Professor Rose.  "I had them answer a series of questions online and the results provided great fodder for the sources of their political opinions."

The results were so intriguing that Professor Rose has posted them on the north wall of the Common Ground in the JDUC. They paint a compelling picture of ideological opinion in a first year political studies class. The females in his 600 student class are tightly clustered in the libertarian, left quadrant of the graph. The males on the other hand, are more spread out across the spectrum.

“It surprised the students that many of them were to the left of the political parties they supported,” added Professor Rose. “In order to add context to the data, I compared their results to political parties and world leaders. To make their results relevant to someone they knew, and to satisfy my own curiosity, I asked Principal Woolf to take the test. To my pleasure and surprise, he consented.” 

Principal Woolf is toward the left-libertarian end near Gandhi.

“Took part in Jonathan Rose's survey of student political ideology,” Principal Woolf wrote on his Twitter account. “Surprised where I ended up on the graph!”

The aggregate graphs and individual student responses can be seen in the Common Ground. You can take the test and see where you fit in by visiting www.politicalcompass.org.

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