Professor Friedman, who teaches courses in a variety of areas of American politics and methodology, is particularly interested in aspects of political representation and the processes associated with a representative democracy. Thus, her 2007 book Dilemmas of Representation is an effort to highlight the balance of local and national elements that make up the home styles of current members of Congress. While many scholars (rightly) highlight the importance of staying “local” as one goes about the business of “representing” constituents, in the modern era of strong parties, diverse groups and polarizing issues, in-depth case studies document how members of Congress additionally incorporate national elements in their presentations of self to constituents. The work also suggests that in fact the local and national elements of politics may be more connected than much previous literature has emphasized, and the case studies highlight the multi-faceted ways legislators have found to represent constituents.
In several other publications and papers, Professor Friedman has delved into other aspects of representation. Thus, questions she has researched have included: Do social backgrounds—in particular a background in business—impact legislative behavior (see Friedman and Witko—Congress & the Presidency). What factors impact the home styles of Latino representatives (see Friedman in Erikson forthcoming and Friedman, paper presented at the American Political Science Association meetings, 2008). In a partisan era, what factors lead some legislators to cross the aisle to work in a bipartisan manner (see Friedman and Ferradino, paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association, 2008). In her efforts, Professor Friedman enjoys working with a variety of methodological approaches, including both qualitative and quantitative research.