University of Richmond Political Science Professor Jennifer Bowie Awarded NSF Grant for Research on Judicial Decision Making

Ongoing Project Will Also Now Explore the Impact of COVID-19 on Judicial Decisions
August 3, 2021

Jennifer Bowie headshotUNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Jennifer Bowie, associate professor of political science has been awarded a more than $28K supplemental grant from the National Science Foundation to continue her research on judicial decision making.

This ongoing, three-year project explores the relationship between lower court judges and their Supreme Court counterparts in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Bowie and Ali Masood, a political science professor at Rhodes College, are developing a database of information on appellate court decisions and conducting in-depth interviews with judges to develop a better understanding of the way judicial decisions are made and what factors may influence future decisions. To date, Bowie and Masood have received more than $332,000 from the National Science Foundation to conduct their research on the courts in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. 

As work on this project has continued through the pandemic, new areas of data collection have been added to explore the impact of COVID-19 on decision making.

The researchers noted in their grant proposal, "We intend to leverage the impact of COVID-19 by incorporating various interview questions about the effects of the pandemic on the judicial work of the courts and judges in Canada and the United Kingdom. We believe that providing additional resources to collect these critically important data will have significant broader and intellectual impacts that scholars, policymakers, students, and practitioners will benefit from.”

These supplementary funds will support the hiring and mentoring of additional undergraduate research assistants from historically underrepresented and excluded groups.

Bowie has taught at the University of Richmond since 2011. In 2020, she was the recipient of two teaching awards; the University’s Distinguished Educator Award and the American Political Science Association Law and Courts Teaching and Mentoring Award.