Main Areas of Research:
My main research interest relates to the study of changing orientations of political parties, with particular reference to ideology and policy. Much of this is based on the content analysis of official party documentation, notably manifestos and platforms from both British and comparative perspectives. I am a principal researcher in the Comparative Manifestos Project and hold an honorary Research Fellowship in Government at the University of Essex.
In recent years I have become involved in examining degrees of correspondence between policy of major British parties and public opinion in terms of saliency, especially in election years, and tracking whether detailed pledges by winning parties in Britain are fulfilled during their periods in office. As an adjunct to this, I also examine how far political parties seek to engage with specific groups of voters, notably women. These studies involve methodological innovation in terms of developing computerised content analysis techniques.
During the past few years I have developed a new research interest which examines the relationship between deliberative norms and parliamentary practice in Britain. This was first carried out in conjunction with Professor Albert Weale, now at University College, London, and using electronic content analysis of parliamentary debates on matters of conscience. I am currently developing this further in terms of examining how far I have a secondary research interest in Israeli party politics and am also interested in voting behaviour, representation and participation and the role of race and gender in the political arena.
- British Political System Year 2
- Select Topics in British Government 1 Year 3
- Electoral Behaviour Year 3
Explanation in Comparative Politics: An introduction to Democratic Systems, London, Sage, 2009 (eds) with Mark Pennington)
Democratic Politics and Party Competition, London and New York, Routledge, 2006 (eds) with Albert Weale.
Mapping Policy Preferences Volume II: The OECD and Eastern Europe, 1990-2002 Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006 (August) forthcoming. (with Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Andrea Volkens, Ian Budge and Michael Macdonald)
Mapping Policy Preferences: Estimates for Parties, Electors and Governments 1945-1998. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, reprinted 2004 and 2010 (with Ian Budge, Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Andrea Volkens and Eric Tanenbaum.)
“Data Quality in Content Analysis: The Case of the Comparative Manifestos Project”, Historical Social Research, 34, 1, 2009, pp.234-51. Special Issue on ‘Linking Theory and Data’ (With Andrea Volkens and Ian Budge.)
“Analysing Parliamentary Debate with Computer Assistance”, Swiss Political Science Review, 2007, 13, 4, pp. 577-606. (With Albert Weale and Aude Bicquelet),
“The 2005 Manifestos: A sense of déjà vu?” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 16, 3, 2006, pp. 265-81.
“A question of trust: Implementing party manifestos”, Parliamentary Affairs, 58, 3, 2005, pp.585-99.
“Party Policy and Ideology: Still New Labour?” Parliamentary Affairs, 54, 4, 2001, pp.590-606. (With Ian Budge).
Chapters in books
“Do parties reflect public concerns?” in Bara and Weale ed. Democratic Politics and Party Competition, London and New York: Routledge, 2006, pp.104-24.
“Introduction: Content Analysis and Political texts” (with Ian Budge) in Budge, Klingemann, Volkens, Bara and Tanenbaum Mapping Policy Preferences: Estimates for Parties, Electors and Governments 1945-1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp.1-18
“Manifesto-based research: A Critical Review” in Budge, Klingemann, Volkens, Bara and Tanenbaum Mapping Policy Preferences: Estimates for Parties, Electors and Governments 1945-1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 51-74.
“Using manifesto estimates to validate computerized analyses”, in Budge, Klingemann, Volkens, Bara and Tanenbaum Mapping Policy Preferences: Estimates for Parties, Electors and Governments 1945-1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp.143-56.
“Tracking estimates of public opinion and party policy intentions in Britain and the USA”, Chapter 14 of Michael Laver ed. Estimating the Policy Positions of Political Actors, London and New York: Routledge, 2001, pp.217-36
“Party Policy and Ideology: Still New Labour?” (With Ian Budge), in Pippa Norris ed. Britain Votes 2001, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 26-42.
“Party Policy and Coalition Building in Israel “in Laver, M. and Budge, I. ed. Party Policy and Government Coalitions, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992, pp. 346-379.
Publications in Progress
“What have the Parties Ever Done for Us? The General Election Manifestos of the Three Main British Parties and the Salience of Women’s Issues”, in Claire Charlot, ed. Les Femmes en Angleterre, Rennes, University of Rennes Press, 2010, forthcoming.
“Do Parties Talk the Same Talk? An Exploratory Analysis of Policy Language of British and American Parties, 1979-2005’.
Co-recipient of American Political Science Association 2003 Data Set Award for collection and dissemination of party policy estimates for 25 countries, 1945-1998.
Recent conference papers
“Data Quality in Content Analysis: The Comparative Manifestos Project”, Annual Conference of Historical Sociologists, 2008. (With Andrea Volkens and Ian Budge.)
“Deliberative Democracy and the Analysis of Parliamentary Debate” ECPR Joint Sessions, 2007, presented to workshop on “Advanced Empirical Study of Deliberation”. (With Albert Weale and Aude Bicquelet.)
“With a little help from our friends: An analysis of the transfer of policy expressions between British and American parties”, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, 2005.
“The 2005 manifestos: A sense of déjà vu?” Annual Conference of the Elections, Parties and Public Opinion Section of the Political Studies Association, September 2005.
“What have the parties done for us? A content analysis of major British manifestos to identify saliency of women’s issues”, Annual Conference of the Women and Politics Group of the PSA, February 2005.
“Do parties reflect public concerns?” Special conference held at the University of Essex, May 2004.
Ongoing grant-funded research project
I am a member of the steering committee of a major collaborative comparative (quantitative and qualitative) research project entitled ‘Manifesto Research on Political Representation’ (MARPOR) which will run from 2009 to 2020. This is financed by a grant from the German Science Foundation (DFG) and there will be several books emerging from this project.
The full team comprises
Dr. Judith Bara, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
Prof. em. Ian Budge, University of Essex
Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Wissenchaftszentrum Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Merkel, Humboldt University Berlin and Director of the Democracy: Structures, Performance, Challenges Research Unit, Wissenchaftszentrum, Berlin
Dr. Vera Tröger, Lecturer, University of Essex
Dr. Andrea Volkens, Research Fellow, Democracy: Structures, Performance, Challenges Research Unit, Wissenchaftszentrum Berlin. and Project Director.