Interest Groups & Advocacy

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 160–173 | Cite as

Policy-centred sampling in interest group research: Lessons from the INTEREURO project

  • Jan Beyers
  • Andreas Dür
  • David Marshall
  • Arndt Wonka
Original Article


Proper sampling is the foundation for all scientific enquiry aimed at making generalizable claims about a wider set of cases. Indeed, inferential statistical analysis presupposes representative samples and units of analysis that can be considered as independent observations. Establishing a sample of issues on which lobbying may take place, which is at the same time representative of an overall population of issues and of the varying levels of conflict and political mobilization, however, is a major challenge for interest group research. Drawing on existing research practices, we discuss a series of different approaches that may be used to establish a sample of policy issues. The focus then is on the policy-centred stratified sampling procedure used in the INTEREURO project. Although our approach has important advantages, we extensively discuss several challenges we faced as well as the procedures we developed in order to deal with these.


interest groups INTEREURO European Union sampling survey methodology 



The authors would like to express their gratitude towards various colleagues who were part of the INTEREURO team establishing this sample, more in particular Rainer Eising, Iskander De Bruycker, Daniel Rasch, Evi Roelen and Patrycja Rozbicka. We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), project number I 576–G16 and the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO-V), project number G.A.171.11N.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Beyers
    • 1
  • Andreas Dür
    • 2
  • David Marshall
    • 2
  • Arndt Wonka
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceACIM – Antwerp Centre for Institutions and Multilevel Politics, Universiteit AntwerpenAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Political Science and SociologyUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  3. 3.Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), University of BremenBremenGermany

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