Bring The Parties Back In: The Imbalance and Future of Electoral Studies in Taiwan





Published date: 

December, 2013


Tsung-wei Liu


This paper examines articles on elections published in six Taiwanese journals on political science by using content analysis. The results show that what these articles have in common is that they focus on ‘voters’, using ‘survey data’, and they analyze data using ‘statistical methods’. This research therefore argues, firstly, that political parties should not be ignored in electoral studies, because elections are the process by which political parties try to attract voters. The picture of electoral competition will not be complete without political parties. Secondly, a survey is one, and not the only, method of collecting data. Collecting large-n samples is usually not possible when studying political parties, and so the case-oriented method of small-n may be more appropriate. Thirdly, statistical methods are not the only way to analyze data. When encountering data for small-n samples with a low degree of variance, set theory is better than statistics. Finally, in order to pursue methodological plurality, the ost important and efficient strategy in the short term is to establish a data base on political parties. In closing, this paper discusses the International Comparative Political Parties (ICPP) and the integrated project on Change and Continuity in Taiwan’s Political Parties (CCTPP).