This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union.
Is there any methodology you would recommend for analysing party programmes for themes such as anti-corruption, transparency or (mis)use of public funds? Are there any benchmark pieces of research in this field, best practices for party programmes and so on?
1. Political party programmes: elements of analysis
2. Methods for the analysis of political party programmes: content analysis and discourse analysis
3. Benchmark research and datasets
4. Anti-corruption best practices for party programmes
There are four main aspects to consider for the analysis of political party programmes: the function of the political programme, the context in which it is created, the drafting process, and ultimately its content. There are several research methodologies used to analyse party programmes in terms of a particular policy area, but two of the main approaches are content analysis and discourse analysis.
Content analysis seeks to quantify patterns within a text in an objective, replicable and systematic manner. It entails the codification of a text into smaller components in order to analyse textual passages and identify a political party’s position on a given issue as well as the relative emphasis the party places on it. The codification of the text can either be done manually or with computer-aided tools. Discourse analysis is a qualitative methodology that provides a framework for a richer understanding of how meaning is constructed and construed in political debate.
Best practices on anti-corruption for party programmes depend very much on the party and the context. Nevertheless, there are universal recommendations and measures to ensure parties’ commitment with internal accountability and transparency, especially regarding party financing. Finally, several studies are considered which have applied these techniques to study party programmes.
Nieves Zúñiga, Transparency International