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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Legislatures in democratic countries generate tons of documents ranging from draft bills to amendments to bills, adopted legislation, committee reports, and transcripts of floor debates. Sifting through the entire legislative record is a challenging task. Thanks to the advent of digital technology, parliamentary records can now be stored in easily searchable on-line databases, making them more accessible to researchers and available for large-scale data analysis. Moreover, political scientists can use these documents to study representation, party politics, policy-making, and legislative behavior. This chapter examines recent technological advances that have allowed scholars to analyze the vast amounts of textual data produced by legislatures year in and year out. It describescontent analysis, focusing on recent approaches that treat “words as data.” It also considers some important applications to comparative study of political parties and legislatures and discusses the challenges faced by scholars moving forward before concluding with a look at the continuing trends in the field.

Keywords: parliamentary records, party politics, policy-making, legislative behavior, textual data, legislatures, content analysis, political parties

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