Louis Bromfield

Louis Bromfield

United Kingdom
PhD Politics and International Relations

What Faculty are you based in?

I am in the Department of Politics and Cultural Studies in the School of Social Sciences.

How did you come to study at Swansea University?

I came through clearing in 2016 when I decided that the university I was at was not for me. I was welcomed to Swansea with open arms. After completing my Politics BA I applied for and completed my Computer Science MSc, also at Swansea; it emphasised interdisciplinarity, and so my MSc project combined Computer Science with Politics, and that became the basis of my application for a scholarship offered by Swansea to undertake a PhD here.

What is your research topic?

I’m investigating the effects of gamified forecasting on political engagement. Gamification is the application of gaming concepts to non-gaming contexts, and so to gamify forecasting I created Fantasy Forecast, a website where users compete in forecasting tournaments.

Players can post to a Feed, submit forecasts, climb leaderboards, take quizzes, earn trophies and points. The competitive context, alongside our unique forecast scoring that combines accuracy with time, aims to incentivise players to stay active and follow current events.

What led to your interest in this area?

The ability to predict political outcomes is normatively fascinating, so there was instant appeal. Gamification was something that my MSc introduced me to, and showed me how we can motivate people to undertake new things. Political engagement is my measurement by which I evaluate success/failure. By approaching engagement cognitively (something very few have done), we can focus on how forecasting impacts one’s levels of knowledge, interest, and efficacy.

What do you hope to achieve with your research?

Within the scope of the PhD, I hope to conduct experiments with treatment and control groups to measure the effectiveness of the site at targeting political engagement. Outside, my supervisor and I are keen to expand the site and hope that the site could become a hub that aggregates the wisdom of the crowd into digestible forecasts about current events.

What are the best things about conducting your research at Swansea University?

Swansea University has been incredibly welcoming and supportive – if I’m on my third degree here they must be doing something right! My colleagues are extremely friendly and work hard to nurture a positive research environment and the supervision I have been given for my work across both Politics and Computer Science has been personal, uplifting, and respectful.

What are your future plans?

I would not turn down any offers to continue within political psychology and academia! I’d love to keep researching, but right now I still have a year to go with my PhD, so a lot of writing is in my immediate future.