Data Resources for the Study of Politics in the Czech Republic
By Pat Lyons
Published by the Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
This monograph is unique as it is the first comprehensive study of the corpus of political data available in the Czech Republic. Rather than being a descriptive inventory of what is available and where the data are archived; this study also explains who undertook the research that created the data, how the data were created and equally importantly why was the data research undertaken in the first place. It is widely accepted within the social sciences that the “data do not speak for themselves but must be interpreted.” For this important reason, any discussion of political data resources must be accompanied by an explanation of the context in which the data were created, operationalised, modelled and used to explain real world political phenomena.
Within this book the presentation of the data resources available to the community of political scientists interested in the Czech Republic is presented in a functional manner where the general purpose of the data is emphasised. Consequently, the overview of data is divided into five groups which form the basis of chapters in this study: (a) election survey data, (b) official election results, (c) comparative survey data, (d) elite survey data, (e) expert and manifesto survey data. In order to demonstrate the characteristics and importance of specific datasets a brief examination is made of the published research associated with the data. This is important because it provides the student and researcher with a starting point for beginning their own research work. The final chapter of this volume explores some of the key methodological features of survey data such as quality and sampling; and statistical methods used to examine the data.
1. Theory, data and analysis
2. A fundamental idea: public opinion
3. Why is political survey data important?
4. Solutions to definitional problems?
5. Logic of this study
6. Roadmap of the book
Chapter 1: Theories of Political Attitudes and Public Opinion
1.1 Early conceptions of public opinion
1.2 British liberal utilitarian theories
1.3 French and German perspectives
1.4 Nineteenth century liberal critiques
1.5 Theoretical approaches in the early twentieth century
1.6 Social psychological models
1.7 Early post-war critiques of mass surveying
1.8 Contemporary critiques
Chapter 2: Origins and Nature of Political Attitude Surveying
2.1 What is a political attitude?
2.2 Opinions, attitudes, beliefs and values
2.3 Political neuroscience: visualising political attitudes
2.4 Public knowledge and attitude measurement
2.5 Revisionist approaches to public opinion, heuristics and cues
Chapter 3: Election Survey Research
3.1 Chamber Elections (1990–2010)
3.2 Senate Elections (1996–2010)
3.3 European Elections (2004–2009)
3.4 Regional and Local Elections (2000–2010)
3.5 Exit Poll Survey Data (1990–2010)
3.6 Panel Survey Data on Political Topics
3.7 Inter-election Political Opinion Polling
3.8 Examples of inter-election dynamics
3.9 Aggregate electoral data analysis research
Chapter 4: Comparative Survey Research
4.1 Public Support for the European Union
4.2 New Democracy and New Europe Barometers (NDB/NEB)
4.3 ISSP: Citizenship, Role of Government and National Identity Modules
4.4 European and World Values Surveys (EVS/WVS)
4.5 Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES)
4.6 European Election Study (EES)
4.7 European Social Survey (ESS)
4.8 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS)
4.9 Other Comparative Political Surveys
Chapter 5: Elite Survey Research
5.1 Czechoslovak Opinion Makers Survey (1969)
5.2 Social Stratification in Eastern Europe after 1989 (1994)
5.3 Cohesion and Stability of Czech Elites (2007)
5.4 Citizens and Elites in Europe, IntUne (2007–2010)
5.5 Parliamentary Surveys in the Czech Republic (1993–2010)
5.6 Case study: Determinants of Czech legislator’s policy preferences
5.7 Candidate surveys
5.8 Surveys of party members
Chapter 6: Manifesto and Expert Data Research
6.1 Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) Data
6.2 Expert surveys
Chapter 7: Interpretation of Political Survey Data
7.1 Validity and reliability of survey methods
7.2 Pre-election surveys that went wrong and why?
7.3 Questionnaire effects
7.4 Response option effects
Chapter 8: Conceptualising Survey Data and Interpretation of Questionnaire Responses
8.1 Rival conceptions of survey response
8.2 Measurement of party closeness in Europe
8.3 Belief sampling model and response option effects
8.4 A spatial representation of response option change effects
8.5 National context and measurement of party closeness
8.6 Response option effects and institutional context
8.1 What are political attitudes and why are they important?
8.2 Can political attitudes be measured?
8.3 How do political scientists conceptualise survey data?
8.4 Testing theories of data generation mechanisms or political reality?
8.5 What is the relationship between theory, data and analysis?
PAT LYONS is a senior researcher in the Department of Political Sociology, Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. He has written books on Irish public opinion (2008), Mass and elite attitudes during the Prague Spring era (2009), analysis of political data in the Czech Republic (2012) and attitudes toward democracy in the Czech Republic in 1968 and 2008 (2013). His main research interests are public opinion, voting behaviour, political attitudes and participation and legislative behaviour. He was a member of the Czech National Election Study (2006, 2010) team and a variety of national and international research projects. He is currently principal investigator for two Czech Grant Agency projects examining the origins, nature and impact of political knowledge and a comparative analysis of protestors and citizens employing the ISSP ‘Citizenship’ module (2014). He has published articles in journals such as Acta Politica, British Journal of Elections, Parties and Public Opinion, Czech Sociological Review, Irish Political Studies, and Political Studies on a variety of topics; and has contributed to monographs examining the results of the Czech lower chamber elections of 2006 and 2010.
This monograph has been completed with funding from the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for the project ‘Zdroje dat, vyzkum standardů, kvality dat a metody harmonizace dat pro mezinarodni socialni komparativni vyzkum’ (Sources of Data, Research Standards and Methods for Data Harmonisation in Comparative Social Research) and integration within the CESSDA network (reg. LA09010).
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