New Study Into Latinx Behavior and Politics Launched With Acceptance of Build and Broaden Grant

Dr. Kenicia Wright (left) and Dr. Güneş Murat Tezcür (right)

The political behavior and policy preferences of the Latinx community will be the subject of a new study in the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs (SPSIA).

The study is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Build and Broaden 2.0 Grant, created to encourage research by scholars at minority-serving institutions to apply for grants. UCF is one of the largest Hispanic Serving Higher Education Institutions in the country, with approximately 28% of UCF’s students identifying as Hispanic.

Leading the research are Assistant Professor Kenicia Wright, Ph.D. and SPSIA Director Güneş Murat Tezcür, Ph.D..

“As a first-generation college student, I was unfamiliar with the research process until I was hired as a research assistant in my junior year,” said Wright. “It means a lot that Dr. Tezcür and I will be able to provide several students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience to the research process through this grant.”

In-depth interviews and focus groups will provide insight on two central, related questions. One focuses on how country of origin and gender interactively influence the opinions and political behavior of Latinx Americans. Secondly, how do these factors shape the scope and nature of group consciousness among Latinx Americas?

The study is well-suited geographically in Central Florida, with 26.2% of the state’s population identifying as Latino or Hispanic and Florida’s Hispanic population of 5.3 million, which is 8% of the U.S. Latino population.

“A resilient liberal representative democracy requires an understanding of how diverse experiences and opinions of citizens shape their political behavior,” said Tezcür. “As such, it is essential for us to develop a better understanding of the complexity and diversity characterizing Latinx attitudes and behavior.”

Given UCF’s institutional background and political context, the grant will enrich the research experiences of Hispanic students while augmenting public understanding of Latinx experiences in Florida, Tezcür said.

“This will be the first time I am involved in a research project that addresses the politics of ethnic and racial diversity in the United States as I am a social scientist that typically focuses on the Middle East,” said Tezcür. “I am hoping that I will be able to contribute a comparative perspective on this project that will supplement Dr. Wright’s expertise.”

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