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SSHOC D 9.6 Demarcation Report of Electoral Studies User Community

Van der Eijk, Cees

This report is Deliverable D9.6 of the SSHOC project. It provides a precondition for subsequent reports D9.7 (Design and Planning of a Knowledge Graph), and D9.9 (Production of a user validated Knowledge Graph). 

Knowledge graphs are infrastructural tools, in the form of models of knowledge in a substantive domain that connect otherwise isolated silos of information about, for example, publications, data-sets, events, people, tools, etc. They allow the identification of relationships between the objects in these different silos that would otherwise be difficult to detect. Knowledge graphs are therefore potentially important aspects of the infrastructure that SSHOC aims to develop for the social sciences and humanities, and that would promote repurposing and re-use of scientific publications, data and analytical results; multidisciplinary collaboration; and increase the potential for societal impact.

WP9 is tasked with the development of a knowledge graph in the field of electoral studies. This development requires first of all a clear description and demarcation of this substantive field and its user community, which will be provided in this report.

The definition and demarcation is achieved by elaborating key aspects of the field. These aspects are discussed in subsections 2.2 – 2.6 of this report, and relate to, respectively, the varieties of elections, electoral outcomes, candidates and voters, rules of the game, communications and comparative approaches that are characteristic for the field, separately as well as in their possible combinations.

After having defined the field in terms of its distinctive aspects, the question is addressed how to identify and reach its important user communities. It is argued that this can only be achieved through organisational features of such user communities, which can be located in, respectively, professional organisations, dedicated scholarly conferences, dedicated publication outlets, and dedicated tools and resources. Each of these is discussed, leading to the conclusion that dedicated conferences in electoral studies can be expected to provide the most efficient options to reach relevant user communities located at the core of the field. Specific cases of such conferences are identified, which will serve as occasions for disseminating information about SSHOC, and particularly for soliciting feedback and recruiting collaborators for the developent of the Electoral Studies Knowledge Graph that is one of the core deliverables of Work Package 9.

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  • Arzheimer, K., Evans, J. and Lewis-Beck, M.S. 2016. The Sage Handbook of Electoral Behavior. London: Sage.

  • Blais, A. 2016. Is Duverger's Law Valid?. French Politics, 14(1), pp.126-130.

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