Linking Parliamentary Big Data for Political Research


Dan Jellinek of UK Authority recently wrote, "A two-year project using 'big data' computing techniques to link records of Parliamentary debates with other social data could be 'transformative' for political research, the UK academic leading the project has said. 'Digging into Linked Parliamentary Data' is one of 14 international projects to win a share of a £3m Digging into Data Award, an international competition to develop new ways of handling 'big data' in humanities and social science research. It will develop semantic search tools to analyse databases of political debates in the UK, Canada and the Netherlands from 1800 to the present, enhancing the study of issues such as the history of left-right ideological polarisation in powerful ways, according to its leaders."


Jellinek continues, "The project is headed by the Institute of Historical Research at the School of Advanced Study, University of London with partners including King's College London, the History of Parliament Trust, and the universities of Amsterdam and Toronto. Dr Jane Winters, reader in digital humanities at the Institute of Historical Research, told that UK work will focus on digital versions of the Hansard official record of House of Commons debates and related data such as 'division lists' - how MPs have voted. Applications could include analysis of key terms to study how left-right ideological polarisation has developed over time in UK politics, and what factors influence this, Winters said."


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