Burden's research and teaching focus on U.S. elections, public opinion, representation, and the U.S. Congress. His recent research has centered on aspects of election administration and voter participation.
He is the author of Personal Roots of Representation, co-editor with Charles Stewart of The Measure of American Elections, co-author with David Kimball of Why Americans Split Their Tickets, and editor of Uncertainty in American Politics. Burden has published articles in journals such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and Election Law Journal.
Burden earned his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University and was a faculty member at Harvard University before joining UW-Madison in 2006. He is co-founder of the Election Administration Project. He is also affiliated with the La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Center for Demography of Health and Aging. Burden is part of the host committee for the 2017 meeting of the Society for Political Methodology.