Experiential Learning in the "First in the Nation" Primary State: Efficacy and Impact of a REAL Political Science Educational Experience


This study examines the efficacy and impact of a political science "study away" course to New Hampshire in the weeks preceding the 2016 and 2020 First in the Nation presidential primary elections. Specifically, this study uses a mixed-methods approach, combining survey research and focus groups, to investigate whether this sort of experiential learning program impacts subjects' political engagement, as well as their personal and professional growth, and an institutional affinity toward their university. This study is important because it expands our understanding of how experiential learning may shape students in normatively desirable ways, and it does so by looking beyond the traditional scope of experiential learning literature, focusing on a domestic "study away" experience of an intermediate length rather than on traditional study abroad programs, internships, and classroom simulations.



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