European Political Science

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 291–305 | Cite as

studying interest groups: methodological challenges and tools

  • rainer eising
Symposium

Abstract

Research on interest groups has evolved from a focus on small-N studies to larger-N studies in the past 15 years. While both European and American research has become more sophisticated and aware of methodological aspects, there is yet no specialized literature on methods regarding how to study interest groups. Only few studies discuss the methodological implications of interest group studies, as well as the transferability of methods employed in other areas of political science to this research area. The contributions in this symposium focus on major problems and topics in interest group research and elaborate methods to deal with them: (1) the identification of the relevant interest group population, (2) the analysis of interest group strategies such as access, (3) the identification of interest groups positions and frames, and (4) the measurement of interest group success and influence. The introduction outlines these research problems and describes how the contributions to this symposium address them. The aim of the symposium is to increase awareness of the intricacies of these research problems, outline suitable practices to handle them, and stimulate debate on these methodological aspects.

Keywords

interest groups research methods methodology 

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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • rainer eising
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Science, Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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