William & Mary

TRIP and AidData Research Presented at ISA Conference in Montreal

Two weeks ago, Professors Mike TierneyBrad ParksChristopher Marcoux and undergraduate researcher Alena Stern travelled to Montreal to attend the ISA conference. On Tuesday, March 15, the TRIP project hosted a data vetting workshop where 23 scholars from around the world used TRIP data in order to explore questions about the IR discipline and the relationship between theory and practice within the field of IR. The actual ISA conference started on the March 16th and research papers from both the TRIP project and the AidData project were presented on panels at the conference.

Chris Marcoux and William and Mary Alum Christian Peratsakis presented a paper that outlines AidData's new environmental aid database. The paper describes broad trends in environmental aid from 90 donors over the past three decades and shows that trends first identified in the book Greening Aid have been magnified over the past decade. With some interesting exceptions, donors are giving less "dirty aid," more "environmental aid" and much more "neutral aid" than they have in the past.

During a panel that highlighted four TRIP papers, Stern and Parks explained whether and to what extent exposure to the policy-making process affects the publication patterns of leading International Relations academics. The study used the TRIP Journal Database to define their sample of leading IR scholars, those who had published two or more articles in the top 12 IR journals from 1980-2008. Publication patterns were understood as whether an author chooses to publish in an academic journal, such as International Organization or APSR, or a policy journal, such as Foreign Policy or Foreign Affairs. One interesting finding from this study was that temporarily leaving academia to occupy a full-time policy making position does have a significant effect on the publication patterns of scholars, while holding a part time position while simultaneously working in the academy has no discernible effect. Similarly, and surprisingly according to Parks and Stern, tenure has no discernible effect on whether a scholar will choose to publish in policy journals.

Stern was the only undergraduate who participated in the TRIP workshop and she gave the formal presentation on the ISA panel. According to Professor Tierney, both the research and the presentation were excellent. "Alena wowed the discussant and the audience. She presented the paper like a pro. Following the panel I was approached by a professor who asked me 'when she was going to finish' and whether she would be going on the market soon. This made me smile for two reasons. First, Alena is only 19 and studying for her BA, rather than her PhD, which is what the professor assumed. Second, in the fall of 2003 at the APSA conference I had a very similar experience when someone asked me whether Brad Parks, Alena's mentor and co-author on this paper, would be going on the academic job market. He had just graduated from W&M a few months earlier."

As a Murray Scholar, Alena has been working on both TRIP and AidData since her freshman year. Alena reflects, "My personal experience performing undergraduate research has enhanced my undergraduate career and has provided me with skills that will certainly prove invaluable beyond graduation."

To read Alena and Brad's paper, click here.

To view Chris and Christian's presentation, click here.