Evaluation Principles, Conceptual Assumptions and Methodological Choices in the Empirical Study of Political Ideologies


  • Ovidiu GHERASIM-PROCA PhD, University lecturer Faculty of Social and Political Science, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi


political ideologies, research methods, empirical study, evaluation, public policy


Two major approaches describe the research field pertaining to the study of political ideologies. Similarly, two fundamental methodological styles provide the main epistemological coordinates in social sciences research. The first one, comprehensive, primarily historical and philosophical in character, seeks to highlight quantitatively imperceptible distinctions in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the ideological phenomenon. The second, rigorously explanatory, is less concerned with philosophical reflection. It's intention is to provide theories and empirical evidences based on directly measurable indicators.The perceptions on ideological factors are based, in traditional political analysis, on purely theoretical and on very general assessments, drown from the classical definition of political ideologies. One can argue that the empirical approach have at his core a specific theoretical corpus covering particular series of conceptual and methodological options, without which any assessment of the scientific value of the viewpoint to which we refer is possible. The present study aims to present the most important of them, having as point of departure the economic theory of democracy and its implications for the empirical study of political ideologies.


Bobbio, N. (1999). Dreapta si stânga. Bucuresti: Editura Humanitas.

Brechon, P. (2004). Partidele politice. Cluj-Napoca: Editura Eikon.

Budge, I. & Keman, H. (1990). Parties and Democracy. Coalition Frmation and Government Functioning in Twenty States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Budge, I. (2001). Theory and Measurement of Policy Positions. In Budge, I. et al., Mapping Policy Positions. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments, 1945-1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dahl, Robert A. (1956). A Preface to Democratic Theory. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Downs, A. (1957a). An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy. The Journal of Political Econiomy, 65(2), 135-150.

Downs, A. (1957b). An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Duverger, M. (1976). Les parties politiques, Paris: Librarie Armand Colin.

Hinich, Melvin J. & Munger, Michael C. (1992). A Spatial Theory of Ideology. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 4(1), 5-30.

Hotelling, H. (1929). Stability in Competition. The Economic Journal, 39 (153), 41-57.

Huber, J., Inglehart, R. (1995). Expert Interpretations of Party Space Locations in 24 Societies. Party Politics, 1(1), 73-111.

King G. (1991). On Political Methodology. Political Analysis, 2, 1-30.

Knight, K. (2006). Transformations of the Concept of Ideology in the Twentieth Century. American Political Science Review, 100(4), 619-626.

Laver, M. & Schofield, N. (1990). Multiparty Government. The Politics of Coalition in Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Laver, M., Benoit, K. & Garry, J. (2003). Extracting Policy Positions from Political Texts Using Words as Data. American Political Science Review, 97(2), 311-331.

Mair, P. (2001). Searching for the Positions of Political Actors. A Review of Approaches and a Critical Evaluation of Expert Surveys. In Michael Laver, (Ed.), Estimating the Policy Positions of Political Actors (pp. 10-30) London: Routledge.

Miroiu A. (2006). Fundamentele politicii. Preferinte si alegeri colective. Iasi: Polirom.

Mungiu-Pippidi, A. (2002). Politica dupa comunism. Bucuresti: Humanitas.

Şandru, D. (2009). Reinventarea ideologiei. O abordare teoretico-politica. Iasi: Institutul European.

Vincent, A. (1995). Modern Political Ideologies. Oxford: Blackwell.