EUROPAL seminar on 18 April 2018: Parliamentary debate in 21st century Europe: The empirical opportunities of big data for analyzing EU scrutiny
On Wednesday 18 April, dr Pieter de Wilde, Associate Professor of European Politics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, conducted a research seminar in Nijmegen. The seminar was entitled ‘Parliamentary Debate in 21st Century Europe: The Empirical Opportunities of Big Data for analyzing EU scrutiny’.
De Wilde first offered a concise sketch of the existing literature on the involvement of national parliaments in EU affairs, providing an overview of four generations of scholarship. Next, he presented the findings of a research project with Christian Rauh that used automated data collection of parliamentary debates. He then juxtaposed this method with a recent study by Winzen, De Ruiter and Rocabert, which used manual coding.
After discussing the advantages and drawbacks of automated versus manual coding, the audience engaged with his main question: what are further possibilities for research on parliamentary debate on EU matters with the aid of big data? During the lively exchange of views, the need for an interdisciplinary perspective became highly apparent. Another tentative conclusion pertained to the need to limit the scope of the studies, in order to draw valid, representative inferences. This nevertheless seemed to leave plenty of room for various other comparative projects on the basis of the methodology proposed. The ideas ranged from the rule of law, solidarity and Euroscepticism, to the mapping of patterns of change in the overall tone of parliamentary debate across Europe.