Methodological Issues in the Study of Political Parties

Hans Noel

in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542628
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Methodological Issues in the Study of Political Parties

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This article considers the quantitative methods in the study of political parties. It focuses on the most important methodological issues concerning the study of parties in V. O. Key's three main domains — in the government, as an organization, and in elections. The question of party cleavages and realignment is explored, emphasizing how this question bridges the three domains. The application of Social Networks Analysis in political science is in its infancy, but there are a number of scholars applying the method to political parties. The social networks theory of parties is nowhere near the level of rigor or predictive precision that the spatial voting theories of Congress have achieved. In general, the four areas of parties research nicely show several important problems in the study of parties.

Keywords: political parties; V. O. Key; government; organization; elections; Social Networks Analysis; Congress

Article.  8984 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Methodology

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