The Institute is involved in several ongoing projects, listed here.

Connecting to Congress Initiative

Connecting to Congress” is IDEA’s flagship research initiative, which aims to create authentic, actionable engagement between Members of Congress and the full range of their constituents. The initiative’s goal is to add to Congress’ capacity to engage in productive, deliberative conversations with its constituents and to provide analysis of how these deliberations affect both constituent opinion and Members’ decision making. The initiative is the followup to Congress 2.0, the first-eve series of political science field experiments with sitting Members of Congress.

IDEA Director Dr. Michael Neblo is one of the co-creator of the “Deliberative Town Hall” model, engaging a representative cross-section of a congressional district to participate in an independent, non-partisan online town hall on a single issue with their Member of Congress . IDEA/C2C also administers a pre- and post-survey to participants, tracking the effect the town hall had on constituents’ trust and approval of the Member, as well as their opinion on various policies discussed. Their peer-reviewed research has shown that these Deliberative Town Halls produce significant gains in approval, trust, and likelihood to vote for the Member. Understanding the time and resource constraints congressional offices are under, IDEA organizes these online events, handles all technology and produces this analysis with minimal investment of staff time and at no cost to offices.

Common Ground for Action: A Deliberative Platform for Engagement

Partnering with the Kettering Foundation, the Institute makes extensive use of an online platform called Common Ground for Action (CGA) to host deliberative forums on a variety of salient political issues. For example, as part of the First-Year Success Series, the purpose of which is to provide resources for first-year students to integrate into college life smoothly, the Institute held two dozen forums in Fall 2016 on economic inequality to provide an opportunity for students to learn how to cope with the transitional challenge of participation in and engagement with a new and diverse community. The report from these forums can be accessed here:

Common Ground for Action Ohio: The Opioid Crisis

The Institute is currently involved in a research program utilizing the CGA platform to analyze informed, deliberative public opinion on the opioid epidemic in Ohio. The goal is to have people from all 88 counties participate in discussions.

Speaker Series

Throughout the year, the Institute hosts talks and presentations by scholars from OSU and all over the world. To view upcoming talks, please visit our events page. If you are interested in presenting as part of the Speaker Series, or would like to suggest a scholar to bring to campus, please email