Key Research Interests and Expertise

Toby’s research interests are broad and cover electoral institutions, electoral malpractice, political participation, political leadership, statecraft theory, public administration, theories of the policy process and research methodologies.

He is currently working on:

  • Comparative electoral management and administration. Elections are often marred by problems such as queues at polling stations, problems with technology or malpractice from election officials. Toby works on how we can conceptualise and measure performance, evaluates the effectiveness of policy tools, the effects of institutional designs and politics of reform.  Recent and ongoing projects include an analysis of poll worker surveys from the 2015 UK general election and 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections with Dr. Alistair Clark (University of Newcastle) funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.  He is working with the Venice Commission and international scholars on a project on electoral management in Europe.  He has just published a book on Comparative Electoral Management (Routledge, 2020).  
  • Evaluating political leaders. Who was the greatest political leader of all time? How can we objectively judge them to be ‘great’? Is an objective judgement possible? Toby has been working  on frameworks for evaluating political leaders.  He has recently co-edited books on British Labour Leaders and British Conservative Leaders and co-edited a special issue of Parliamentary Affairs.  
  • Explaining policy continuity and change. Toby is working on how we understand policy/institutional continuity and change and has contributed towards the development of neo-statecraft theory in a recent article in Government and Opposition.

I welcome enquiries from PhD potential students relating to any of my research area.

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