Work Package 3

DEMED will identify education-based solutions to combating democratic backsliding. Here we will focus on the question of whether and how newly designed online and in-the-field civic education programmes successfully instill democratic norms and values in the population, which makes new and old democracies resilient to future backsliding. 

Systematic review: Under the supervision of the PI Prof. Anja Neundorf and team member Prof Steven Finkel (Pittsburgh), a world leading expert on civic education, the project Postdoc Dr. Aykut Öztürk and one RA (based in Pittsburgh) will collect, systemise and analyse published and unpublished experimental and quasi-experimental studies evaluating political education programmes and their effect on democratic citizenship across the globe. 

Developing new online civic education content: To date, civic education is done predominately in traditional forms of face-to-face workshops and events. Online civic education is only in its infancy and no systematic test of its effectiveness has been conducted. DEMED will fill this gap. To produce the content of the online civic programmes (e.g. videos and animations), DEMED will incorporate the invaluable expertise of team member Prof. Finkel as well as the practical experience and local knowledge of Aaron Abbarno (Democracy International) who will consult the project. We will also test the effectiveness of the content. Dr. Ericka Rascon will lead the design and implementation protocol according to potential contamination among experimental arms, effect sizes and target subgroup analysis (i.e., simple vs clustered randomisation, number of stratified groups).

Case study for content development: To ensure to maximise the effectives of the messages and format, we will first focus on one country, for which we will develop multiple types of interventions, which will be based on specific local content. For this case study, we will use Turkey, pending an extensive risk assessment. 

Cross-national content development: Once we have established the most effective way to design the online civic education interventions in a local context, we will design general content, which can be implemented in up to 20 different countries, which allows us to test whether these kinds of interventions are more effective in some contexts compared to other cases. 

Pilot study Tunisia: Throughout 2019, the PI Prof. Neundorf, Prof. Finkel and Dr. Rascon Ramirez conducted a pilot study in Tunisia in collaboration with Democracy International. The US State Department funded the pilot study. The results of this one country pilot study will feed into WP3.