Develop a rough and ready theory of declining participation in democratic process. Taking any case that you choose, or reviewing democracy in general, brainstorm to come up with some hypotheses that help to explain why is there a general trend of declining participation in democratic proces. The dependent variable in each hypothesis will be declining participation (with the values being voting, party membership, pressure group particiation, protests, etc.).What are some independent variables? Keep a few things in mind:
- Choose variables that could reasonably be measured (though a survey or some other means).
- Consider carefully issues of both conceptual and operational definition. For example, if you posit literacy as an independent variable, do you mean that people with education are different than those without , or do you mean that there will be differences between people of different levels of education – you also need to consider what that means and how you might measure.
- Specify the nature of the relationship. Do not merely say that participation is related to education. Or there is a difference with regards the levels of education?
- Provide rationales for your hypotheses. (“Educated citizens are more likely to participate because they are more aware of the impact of the political system on their lives” )
- Don’t worry at this point about whether your hypothesis is valid.