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A cross-national study of school students' perceptions of political messages in two national election campaigns

Rivers, Ian and Carragher, Daniel J. and Couzens, Jimmy and Hechler, Rachel C. and Fini, Gia (2018) A cross-national study of school students' perceptions of political messages in two national election campaigns. International Journal of Educational Research, 92 (Decemb). pp. 10-19. ISSN 0883-0355

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to understand, qualitatively, the ways in which school students from England and the US engaged with campaign messages during two national elections. We combined data from eight focus groups conducted in four schools in England (2 primary/elementary and 2 secondary/high; N = 60) and individual interviews conducted in one school in the US (N=19). Three common themes were identified from our cross-national data: the trustworthiness of candidates, equality, and the narrative surrounding immigration. We argue that it is important for students to have spaces to understand, explore and debate political messages and for teachers to feel confident and able to engage with those campaign messages especially where they may be controversial, partisan or challenging.