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Deep thought

Research in political science stretches Stanhoe WI members’ brains.


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3 November 2022

Deep thought

Research in political science stretches Stanhoe WI members’ brains.

It was a very different, brain-stretching meeting that Stanhoe and Barwick WI members had in November.

Sarah Tustin, a lively mature PhD student working out of Queen Mary University of London, but resident in Norwich, spoke about her research for a Political Science qualification, which she was conducting in Norfolk, asking opinions on how political decisions are made, and how people would like to see this changed if they had the option. So far 100 people have been asked and her aim is to ask 300 people altogether.

photos: Rosemary Brown

Sarah standing and speaking animatedly

Sarah Tustin: “What do citizens think ‘citizen-focused’ political decision-making should look like?” 

Of course we all took part in the research, which involved both a questionnaire and a complex statement sorting process. As many people as possible were given a bag of 43 tiles, each tile containing a statement relating to present and potential decision-making. These had to be sorted into three piles: Agree, Disagree, and No opinion. Then we were each given a large board with a pyramid arrangement of 43 squares, and we were asked to place our tiles on the pyramid in ascending order of agreement or disagreement, or noncommittal opinion. No squares were to be left blank, so much sorting ensued to find a considered placement of all 43 tiles.

A pile of tiles carrying statements such as: 'The winning political party should be able to enact its policies without interference'

Order, Order! Sorting the tiles

The result was photographed and will be put on computer and the results will be analysed and grouped into collectives of likeminded people. Sarah hopes to ask people of all ages their opinions to validate her research, and is visiting a wide range of organisations from schools, further education colleges, political groups, and special interest groups. She started her research seven weeks ago in the midst of our political turmoil and hopes to conclude it in the next few weeks.

It was a really thought-provoking afternoon, but after taxing our brains so much it was relaxing to be offered tea and cake and to participate in Institute business and to hear about upcoming events.

Read more about Sarah’s research here.

Posted by: Charles
Posted on: 3 November 2022