MEDem in a Nutshell

Monitoring Electoral Democracy (MEDem) is a new, evolving European research infrastructure that will enable better, more comprehensive, and highly innovative comparative democracy research on electoral democracies by bringing together and linking data sources on the functioning of democracies, and by building standards and instruments for data collection and analysis.

In this regard, MEDem aims to be a European research infrastructure for quantitative research on political processes in European democracies at the micro, meso and macro level. MEDem will connect, coordinate, and support research on democracy in political communication, political science and beyond and will elevate the analysis of European democracies to new levels of scientific distinction and public impact.

Prospective Services provided by medem

As a European Research Infrastructure, MEDem’s main aim is to be a platform to find and integrate different data collections and different types of data objects (survey data, text data, country and institutional data) through pre- and post-harmonization, thus allowing for large-scale and long-term interoperability within all types of democracy research data. Furthermore, MEDem will provide a set of different specialized services tailored to different stakeholders, including but not limited to:

  • The MEDem Service Gateway Hub is going to be a one-stop-shop, where users (a) can query for concepts and datasets using the MEDem search engine, which will be based upon a deep neural network, and (b) can – if desired – have the queried data curated through an automated process of data harmonization or linking for more comprehensive analyses.
  • The MEDem Measurement Map will compile and document the measurement of concepts and items/scales used in different data collections in the field of research on democratic processes, politics, and elections. The Map is meant to serve as a living encyclopedia that assists researchers when working out the empirical details of their research questions, helping them to pick valid and reliable measurement instruments.
  • The MEDem Standards Catalog will lay out best practice guidelines for data collectors to facilitate retrievability, harmonization, and interoperability of their data and to ensure that their data will follow certain quality standards. It will serve as a quality seal, to encourage data collectors to conform to the highest standards, which shall strengthen European institutions to become the leading research institutions in the social sciences.
  • MEDem will offer training and capacity building for students at various stages of their academic career, from providing teaching materials for high school students, supporting their democratic formation, to providing massive open online courses (MOOCs), online tutorials, and summer schools for graduate students on research and methods-related topics, laying the groundwork for academic excellence.  
  • MEDem will offer advice and expertise to its members and associated partners on various topics like legal and ethical issues, or individual methodological and technical questions – helping members to make informed decisions when designing new data collections.
  • MEDem will devise tools to improve the communication among researchers, where researchers can benefit from the experience of others to make fragmented knowledge accessible to everybody: who is working on what, methodological notes, early access to codebooks and questionnaires, statistical scripts, replication data, or info on pretests.
  • MEDem will assist in reaching out to the non-academic community, like policymakers, journalists, or interested citizens. The interactive web application will allow users without prior statistical knowledge to effortlessly inspect and visualize data about the functioning of democracies.
  • MEDem will also offer training for (data) journalists on how to effectively utilize quantitative democracy data. This training will equip journalists with the necessary skills to access and interpret such data, empowering them to produce accurate and insightful reports. Furthermore,MEDem will provide a comprehensive link list covering different topics (elections, parties, parliamentary speeches, etc.).

The European infrastructure for unlocking the true potential of data-driven  democracy research

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