Daniel John O'Malley


Research title: Explaining the Use of Issues in Referendums

Research Summary

Research Summary

Direct democracy, specifically referendums, have been a tool of Western democracies for decades now. The last decade specifically in the UK has seen referendums being used more frequently and in my divisive manners. However, the understanding of how political actors operate in the respective campaigns during these referendums is still relatively under researched compared to our understanding of stand election campaigns.

My thesis will seek to lay down a framework of analysis for understanding what factors influence political actors’ decision to emphasis issues in their messaging during referendum campaigns.

Research Topic

Political Parties and Messages in Referendum Campaigns: Analysis of Brexit, Scottish Independence and Alternative Vote Referendums

Research Interests 

  • Party Politics
  • Direct Democracy
  • Comparative Politics
  • British Politics



Sergiu Gherghina & Daniel O’Malley, Self-Determination during the Brexit Campaign: Comparing Leave and Remain MessagesFédéralisme Régionalisme[En ligne], Volume 19 : 2019, Understanding the Occurrence and Outcome of Self-Determination Referenda in Europe, URL : https://popups.uliege.be:443/1374-3864/index.php?id=1869.


Organised the COST (Constitution-making and deliberative democracy) Action General Meeting 24th-25th October 2019 at the University of Glasgow

Additional Information

My professional background is in both parliamentary and party-political campaigning. I have worked in the Scottish Parliament, UK Parliament and ran election campaigns at local and national level. This has provided me with a solid practical grounding to my theoretical work into political behaviour and the study of political actors.