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Coding and Using Party Manifestos: Pros, Cons, and Pitfalls

Case
By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

This case study discusses how and why manifestos can be useful in political science research. Manifesto analyses have a long history in the discipline and shed light on important aspects of party competition, and the changing nature of political life. They also invite an appreciation of issues and policy areas parties prioritize. Manifestos can thus tell us a lot about parties’ relationships and the positions they take up. That said, existing datasets are not always enough. Consequently, researchers may have to design novel indicators and do their own coding. I discuss different ways this can be done with reference to my own research. The case study then highlights important data sources in the field and outlines key issues to consider when developing measurement scales and indicators for one’s own research.

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