School of Social and Political Science

Dr Robert Macdonald

Job Title

Research Fellow in African Studies and Teaching Fellow in African Studies and International Development

Robert Macdonald's photo

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Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

Dr Robert Macdonald’s research focuses on politics and elections in African contexts. He is currently a Research Fellow working on the Local Perceptions and Media Representations of Election Observation in Africa project (LMEO). The project investigates popular perceptions of citizen and international observation missions and the ways in which information about them circulates. The case study countries are Zambia, The Gambia and Kenya.

His previous projects include the UKRI GCRF/Newton Fund African Elections during the COVID-19 Pandemic project (which looks at ways of mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on African elections and making electoral systems more resilient in the face of challenges created by climate change) and Developing Data? (which looks at the political and economic uses of data in East Africa and beyond).

His PhD thesis addresses voter behaviour in Tanzania, focusing on a range of issues including preference formation, political communications, and age and gender dynamics.


Robert Macdonald holds a PhD in African Studies, an MSc with Distinction in Africa and International Development and an MA in History with First Class Honours, all from the University of Edinburgh.

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Macdonald R, Molony T, Lihiru V. The reception of Covid-19 denialist propaganda in Tanzania. Journal of Southern African Studies. 2024 Feb 9;49(4):697-716. doi: 10.1080/03057070.2023.2298152
Macdonald R, Molony T. Future pandemics and elections: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic in the Central African Republic, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania. Journal of African Elections. 2023 Oct 1;22(2):46-67.
Molony T, Macdonald R. Tips for Journalists and Editors who Cover Election Observation. 2023 Feb 23.
Macdonald R, Molony T. Can domestic observers serve as impartial arbiters? Evidence from Zambia’s 2021 elections. Democratization. 2023;30(4):635-653. Epub 2023 Feb 3. doi: 10.1080/13510347.2023.2173177
Macdonald R, Molony T. Local Perceptions of Election Observation in Africa: Preliminary Findings. Local Perceptions and Media Representations of Election Observation in Africa (LMEO) . 2022 Nov 5, p. 1-10. Epub 2022 Nov 5.
Molony T, Macdonald R. Media Representations of Election Observation in Africa: Preliminary Findings. 2022 Nov 5, p. 1-9.
Macdonald R, Molony T. Holding elections during future pandemics and other emergencies: Evidence-based recommendations. 2021 Sept 7, p. 1-11.
Falisse JB, Macdonald R, Molony T, Nugent P. Why have so many African leaders died of COVID-19? BMJ Global Health. 2021 May 17;6(5):1-6. e005587. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2021-005587
Molony T, Macdonald R. Reducing the Transmission of COVID-19 during African Elections: technical considerations. 2021 Apr 9, p. 1-7.
Lihiru V, Macdonald R, Molony T. COVID-19 and Tanzania’s 2020 Elections. 2021 Feb 3, p. 1-12.
Molony T, Macdonald R. Re-evaluating international observation of Kenya’s 2017 elections. Journal of Eastern African Studies. 2019;13(4):601-620. Epub 2019 Aug 23. doi: 10.1080/17531055.2019.1657277
Macdonald R. Age and gender voting trends in the 2015 Tanzanian general election. Journal of Eastern African Studies. 2018;12(1):44-62. Epub 2017 Dec 3. doi: 10.1080/17531055.2017.1410759