Do Civic Engagement Assignments Increase Political Efficacy? An Empirical Study

03 February 2023, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Research shows successfully completing a course in American Politics can increase feelings of political efficacy in students (Colby et al 2007, Dominguez et al 2017), but do not isolate a specific mechanism that is causing this increase. Some attempts to develop political efficacy have focused on resource intensive projects (Elder et al 2007, DeLaet 2016). We examine the ways in which small classroom assignments that require students to directly practice the skills of citizenship can cause students to gain confidence that they can effectively participate in politics. By comparing sections of POL 101 with interactive assignments and those without we explore what educators can do to foster political efficacy in their Introduction to American Politics courses. Our research therefore has the potential to identify specific, easily adoptable teaching techniques that can increase student political efficacy without burdening either educators or students.


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