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Content Analysis of Party Programs
Kenneth Janda
This is an illustrative, rather than exhaustive, review

Zvi Namenwirth used the General Inquirer to analyze all major party platforms from 1844 to 1964. Later, he joined with Lasswell in a similar study.
Namenwirth, J. Zvi, "Some Long- and Short-Term Trends in One American Political Value: A Computer Analysis of Concern with Wealth in 62 Party Platforms," in George Gerbner et al. (eds.), The Analysis of Communication Content (New York: Wiley, 1969), pp. 223-241.
Namenwirth, J. Zvi and Harold D. Lasswell, The Changing Language of American Values: A Computer Study of Selected Party Platforms (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Comparative Politics Series, Number 01-001 (1970).
Gerald Pomper analyzed U.S. party platforms without using computer methods, but his research was quantitative and did use computer methods of statistical analysis. Richard Rose did comparable research on British parties, whose statements of principles are called "election manifestos" rather than "party platforms."
Pomper, Gerald, with Susan S. Lederman, Elections in America: Control and Influence in Democratic Politics, 2nd Ed. (New Yok: Longman, 1980).
Richard Rose, Do Parties Make a Difference? 2nd Ed. (Chatham, NJ: 1984).
During the 1980s, a group of European scholars undertook the Comparative Manifesto Project, a cooperative effort to do a content analysis of all party manifestos since the end of World War II. Here is the first major publication from the project and a citation to a recent publication from this on-going project, which now covers parties in 20 countries from 1945 to 1985.
Budge, Ian, David Robertson, and Derek Hearl (eds.) (1987), Ideology, Strategy and Party Change: Spatial Analyses of Post-War Election Programmes in 19 Democracies. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
Pennings, Paul, and Hans Keman (2002), "Towards a new methodology of estimating party policy positions," Quality & Quantity 36: 55-79.
In conjunction with my former student, Robert Harmel, and two Northwestern Graduate Students--Christine Edens and Patricia Goff--I did a longitudinal analysis of changes in party platforms (manifestos) following election defeats.
Kenneth Janda, et al., "Changes in Party Identity: Evidence from Party Manifestos," Party Politics, 1 (April, 1995), 171-190.
Finally, mention should be made to the recent work by Gerring, who analyzed the platforms of the major U.S. parties from 1828 to 1996.
Gerring, John. Party Ideologies in America, 1828-1996. Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Gerring maintains his own website, Description of Primary Sources, which discloses the sources for his research.