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Party Policy and the Survival of Parliamentary Parties: Using Large-N Quantitative Analysis to Study Why Parties ‘Die’

Case
By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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Abstract

In broad terms, this case deals with the institutional development of political parties in national legislatures. The basic premise is that institutional development of parties and party systems in democratic polities is fundamentally linked to party survival. I examined party strategies with respect to policy dynamism and policy orientation under different electoral rules, and I analysed the effects of these factors on the risk of electoral death for 429 parties in 28 national legislatures of new and established European democracies from 1945 to 2010. This case study provides an account of a large-N research project using quantitative methodology. It takes the reader through the process of formulating a research question and a set of testable hypotheses, selecting the cases and method of analysis, gathering and analysing data, presenting findings (and non-findings) and drawing appropriate conclusions. It underscores the importance of ensuring from the start that a project of this scale is doable within the designated time frame, and it highlights the need for clear focus and flexibility in the conduct of research.

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