Towards a valid and viable measurement of SDG target 16.7

My chapter in: SDG16 Data Initiative. Global Report 2020, New York, 32-37

The UN Member States have set ten specific targets for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 , the promotion of just, peaceful and inclusive societies. Of these targets, target 16.7 aims at ensuring “responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels”. Among the 17 SDGs and the 169 targets defined to achieve the Goals, target 16.7 may be viewed as a key target because it focuses on political decision-making, which is a crucial prerequisite for all of the desirable policy outcomes defined in SDG 16 and in the other SDGs. This chapter discusses the official indicators for monitoring target 16.7 and argues that the Global State of Democracy Indices – a set of democracy measures developed by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) – can function as valid proxy indicators. read more

Content and Discourse Analysis

Online Lecture at American Space, Almaty, 2nd April 2018

Content and discourse analysis belong to the standard toolbox of qualitative research in the social sciences. They enable scholars to analyze the structures and practices of public communication. Rooted in the positivist epistemological tradition, qualitative content analysis is aimed at the systematic mapping and classification of textual data. Researchers formulate hypotheses and construct a coding frame of categories to structure the data and detect underlying patterns or trends. In contrast, discourse analysis is embedded in the constructivist and hermeneutic traditions of the social sciences. The key aim of this method is to interpret the implicit meaning of discourse fragments and situate them in the context of larger frames, discourses or narratives.

My online lecture was organized by the “Art of Research Lab”, a group of young researchers and scholars committed to improve the quality of social research. The event continued a fruitful cooperation with young researchers from Kazakh National University, Almaty. I discussed exemplary applications  of content and discourse analysis in order to facilitate their use in Kazakhstan’s growing community of social scientists.

BTI 2018 Kick-Off and Concept Paper

On 12/13 September the core group behind the Transformation Index (BTI) met at Bertelsmann Stiftung’s always impressive Gütersloh headquarters to prepare the new survey wave.

bertelsmann_stiftung
Swans’ view of the Foundation’s headquarters

BTI is a global expert survey on the quality of democracy, market economy and governance, now in its eighth edition (!) scheduled for publication in 2018. Questionnaires will be sent to country experts at the end of October. The submission of country reports will trigger off an elaborate procedure of reviewing, revising, calibrating, editing and lesson-drawing, keeping us busy throughout the next year.

The meeting was a first occasion for Peter Thiery and me to present the draft of a comprehensive paper that situates the concepts guiding the BTI in the scholarly literatures on democratic theory, democratization, policy reform, good governance, economic transformation and aid effectiveness. Our paper also uses unpublished data from the BTI production process to evaluate the validity of the measurement and aggregation techniques underlying the composite indicators in the BTI dataset. Author-reviewer differences are studied across subsequent BTI editions. Various statistical models are constructed to assess the impact of changes among authors, reviewers and coordinators and to compare the effects of different aggregation rules. We plan to complete and publish the paper during the next months.

Policy Analysis and Policy Evaluation

A workshop with Belgrade Open School staff, 16-18 May 2016

To upgrade their research capacity, think tanks need access to methodological and conceptual tools that have recently been developed by researchers in the field of policy analysis and evaluation. My three-day workshop with Belgrade Open School provided an overview on rationalist and institutionalist approaches of policy analysis, focusing on examples from Europeanization studies. Notions of causation and strategies to deal with confounding causes formed the basis of our discussion on evaluation methods. The workshop also included an introduction to regression and factor analysis, two key tools of empirical policy research.

PalataBeogradjanka
Palata Beograđanka, BOŠ premises on 16th floor. Picture source: Lakododoma  Magazine

Founded in 1993, BOS has become one of Serbia’s leading civil society organisations for post-graduate training and public policy advocacy.

BOSAs a non-partisan and non-profit organization, BOS strengthens human resources, improves the work of public institutions and organisations, develops and advocates public policies in order to develop better society based on freedom, knowledge and innovation.

 

Methodology of Social Science Research

Training for the Institute of World Policy, Kiev, 4 September 2015

A full day of teaching with the staff of Ukraine’s leading independent think tank for International Relations, the Institute of World Policy. The main themes were:
1. Research design / causation, theory building;
2. Conceptualization and measurement
3. Qualitative and quantitative methods
4. Evaluating policies

Regression
(c) Martin Brusis

Video clips available here