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Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


Charlotte Snelling

Charlotte Snelling
Charlotte Snelling
Research Interests
Political participation, Youth participation, Elections, Campaigning, Student movements, Turnout, Voting behaviour, Quantitative methods

I was awarded my PhD in 2016. I am currently employed as a Researcher at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in the Economy and Housing team, with my work focusing on the evaluation and development of housing and welfare policies. In this role I can be reached at (or click here).

My PhD research was driven by a puzzle of participation, observations of growing disengagement from electoral politics amongst young people in Britain being seemingly at odds with an increasingly well-educated youth electorate in which student numbers are growing. My thesis explores this apparent paradox through a study focused on variation in participation attitudes and behaviours across groups, defined by age and educational experiences, to understand where and why youth turnout decline is occurring. It seeks to answer the following questions:

1.Why is the comparatively higher average level of education enjoyed by young people in Britain today not associated with a higher level of turnout?

2.What role(s) do educational experiences in youth play, and how, in shaping young people’s attitudes towards political participation and, as a consequence, to what extent are these significant in determining their turnout behaviours at UK general elections?

In this project I use a principally quantitative methodology, using secondary survey data and a range of statistical techniques.


Professor Ailsa Henderson

Professor Nicola McEwen


PhD Politics, University of Edinburgh (2012-2016)

MSc(R) Politics, University of Edinburgh (2011-2012)

MSc Policy Studies (Distinction), University of Edinburgh (2009-2010)

BA(Hons) Political Studies (First class), University of Leeds (2005-2008)

Research training:

Within PhD and MSc(R), training courses completed: Core Quantitative Data Analysis (using SPSS); Intermediate Inferential Statistics (using SPSS); Survey Design; Data Collection; Research Design; Explanations and Understanding in Social Science; and Theory and Practice in Political Research

In addition, quantitative methods training:

  • Structural Equation Models using SPSS AMOS, delivered by AQMeN (Dec 2013)
  • Latent Class Analysis using Latent Gold, delivered by Statistical Innovations (Jan-Feb 2015)
  • Multi-level modelling using MLWiN, delivered by AQMeN/Scottish Graduate School (June 2015)


ESRC 1+3 PhD Studentship (2011-2016)

First Place, Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG)/Intergenerational Foundation (IF) Fifth Demography Essay Prize (2015)

EUSA Teaching Awards - nominated 'Best Student who Tutors' (2015)

Wheeler Memorial Fund First Year Prize for Achievement in Politics, University of Leeds (2006)


UK Political Studies Association (PSA)

  • Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP), PSA Specialist Group
  • Young People's Politics, PSA Specialist Group

Advanced Quantitative Methods Network (AQMeN)


Snelling, C (2016) ‘Young people and electoral registration in the uk: examining local activities to maximise youth registration’ Parliamentary Affairs, 69(3), pp663-685 [Online]

Snelling, C (2016) '"School’s out!" A Test of Education’s Turnout Raising Potential' Intergenerational Justice Review, Issue 1, pp4-17 [Online]

Blog articles:

Snelling, C (2012) 'Student voting behaviour - July 2012' YouthSight. 15 August 2012. [Online blog post]

Snelling, C (2013) 'The student vote 2013' YouthSight. 28 May 2013. [Online blog post]

Snelling, C (2014) 'New poll reveals No camp retain lead among Scotland’s students' The Conversation. 16 September 2014. [Online blog post]

Snelling, C (2014) 'If Local Authorities are to succeed in increasing voter registration amongst young people, they must make use of direct recruitment' Democratic Audit UK. 17 October 2014. [Online blog post]

Conference presentations:

Snelling, C (2014) ‘Young people and electoral registration in the UK: An assessment of local activities to maximise youth registration’ Presented at EPOP, 12th-14th September 2014, University of Edinburgh.

Snelling, C (2015) 'Examining the causal mechanisms of the Sorting Model for UK youth turnout: testing the effects of education, environment and efficacy' Presented at 1st Leuven-Montreal Winter School on Elections and Electoral Behaviour, 14th-22nd January 2015, University of Leuven. 

Snelling, C (2015) ‘Social networks and the persistence of turnout inequalities in youth: the positioning role of relative education’ Presented at PSA, 30th March – 1st April 2015, University of Sheffield.

Snelling, C (2015) ‘Questioning the turnout raising potential of educational expansion: to what extent will supporting a more educated youth electorate boost youth turnout?’ Presented at Demografie-Kongress Best Age, 8th September 2015, Berlin.

Tutoring (University of Edinburgh):

Aug-Oct 2014: Towards Scottish Independence? Understanding the Referendum (Mass Online Open Course)

Sep-Dec 2014: Core Quantitative Data Analysis (Postgraduate)

Jan-Apr 2015: Introduction to Political Data Analysis (Undergraduate)


Oct 2012 - Sep 2013: Elected EUSA Postgraduate Action Group Convener, coordinating postgraduate representation across the university on behalf of the students' association, attending the Research Experience Committee, and chairing monthly Postgraduate Forums.

Sep 2013 - present: PhD mentor

Oct 2013: Co-organiser of one-day conference, 'Challenges to Campaigning', bringing together academics and practitioners to discuss how election campaigning can adapt in the 21st Century to remain relevant and engaging for future generations.

Research and policy work experience:

(Most recent first.)

Jan-Jul 2014: Social Researcher (Constitution Group, UK Cabinet Office - ESRC Student Internship)

Jul 2012 - Sep 2014: Freelance Analyst (YouthSight)

Mar 2011 - Dec 2013: Research and Policy Assistant (Jubilee Scotland)

  • Awarded place on Young Scottish Green List 2012

Jan 2011 - Aug 2011: Researcher (Scottish Youth Parliament)

Sep 2010 - Dec 2010: Campaigns and Public Affairs Intern (CLIC Sargent)