Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

E. Scott Adler

Second Advisor

Janet Donavan

Third Advisor

Alison Vigers


Science impacts nearly all aspects of American society; however, the extent of this impact depends on favorable legislation. Given the key role Congress plays in policymaking, it is thus necessary to determine what factors cause legislators to change science policy, so that researchers can determine more successful ways of producing meaningful science policy outputs. I therefore measure the influence of eleven political variables on policy change in science and four other issue areas during thirty-one congressional terms. Results reveal that scholars need to identify a more effective method Congress can use to contemplate science policy change, which I propose needs to incorporate both expertise and citizen participation. I also demonstrate that conducting issue-specific studies augments the field of political science, by providing a more comprehensive understanding of congressional behavior that one cannot ascertain from aggregative studies alone.