Collaborative Data Collection in Political Science: a New Data Infrastructure on Parties, Elections and Governments
Title: Collaborative Data Collection in Political Science: a New Data Infrastructure on Parties, Elections and Governments
Author: DÖRING, Holger
Series/Report no.: EUI MWP; 2010/21
Information on political institutions, data on parties, elections, and governments, has yet to be provided in a format which makes it easily accessible for empirical research. Contemporary data on political institutions is scattered, limited to some countries or time periods only and difficult to combine, so that quantitative studies of political institutions have no systematic data infrastructure available which is equivalent to survey research or OECD data. As a consequence, work on political institutions rests on very heterogeneous information sources and the quality of data does not match standards of replication for empirical research. Political scientists are in need of a modern replacement for data handbooks and recent technological innovations have broadened the opportunities to develop such an infrastructure within the political science community. I discuss existing approaches towards collaborative data collection in political science and highlight contemporary shortcomings. In the paper, I propose a novel approach towards data collection in comparative research and present a new data infrastructure on parties, elections and governments, the Parliament and Government Composition Database (ParlGov). The data infrastructure combines a database, data presentation in webpages and software scripts in order to generate more dynamic datasets. So far, it includes information about more than one thousand parties, around five hundred elections and almost one thousand governments. This infrastructure allows us to derive a wide range of datasets for studies in political science and can be easily extended. Hopefully, the paper will encourage rethinking about contemporary ways of collecting data on legislatures and executives.
Subject: Comparative politics; dataset; political instituions; parties; elections; governments
The ParlGov database (www.parlgov.org) that I introduce in this paper is based on joint work with Philip Manow, whom I wish to thank for his support. Our work on this infrastructure started at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) from 2005 to 2007 and continued at the University of Konstanz from 2007 to 2009. At the European University Institute, my work on the project has been significantly enhanced through support by Mark Franklin, Peter Mair and Alexander Trechsel. In addition, I would like to thank Laurie Anderson, Fabio Franchino, Alexia Katsanidou, Alyson Price, Julia Sievers and Luca Verzichelli.
Type of Access: openAccess