Path: Janda: Political Parties, Home Page > Part 1: Table of Contents > Chapter 2
Kenneth Janda, Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey (New York: The Free Press, 1980)
Chapter 2: Variable Coding and Data Quality (pp. 12-18), this is p. 12
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(Text below as published in 1980 citation above)

IN ITS RESEARCH DESIGN the ICPP project attempts to determine the existence, status, operation, appeal, and other characteristics of political parties around the world during a given "slice" of time. Our basic interest is in political parties existing after World War II, and we arbitrarily chose 1950 as the starting date for our observations, allowing some period of time after the war for domestic politics to settle down in the several countries of Western Europe and Asia that were themselves battlegrounds in the war. Because of our commitment to collecting data for the study from library resources, we needed to extend our observations over several years to tap an accumulated literature on party politics in each country. Initially, we selected 1960 as the termination date for our study on the equally arbitrary basis of delimiting our study with the period 1950-1960. However, we soon extended our time period to 1962 to capture the vigorous party politics that were unfolding in the emerging nations of Africa about that time.

For this volume, we have updated our study to 1978 by recounting the fate of our original 158 parties and determining which parties formed since 1962 would qualify for study by meeting our "strength" and "stability" criteria (see Chapter 1). Parties formed and ended at different rates in various regions of the world. Overall, 61 parties in our original sample (or 39 percent) terminated for one reason or another before 1978, and 50 new parties qualified for study. Chapter 15 examines the rise and demise of the world's political parties from 1950 through 1978. Apart from that analysis and the identification in Part Two of the specific parties that were terminated and formed in each country since 1962, this study is concerned essentially with the party systems as they operated in the decade before that date. Unfortunately, a more thorough updating of the party data is not feasible at this time.

Although the thirteen-year period (1950-1962) draws our primary attention, we are not wedded to that period throughout our analysis. From one point of view, perhaps we should have adhered strictly to the same time period in analyzing parties within each country. If we had been rigorous in our adherence to a fixed time period, we could be definite in our remarks about cross-national comparisons of political parties. Party activity in Cuba could be compared with simultaneous party activity in Turkey, for example. But the advantages of complete precision in the time periods of cross-national comparisons seemed far less than the advantages that might be gained through a willingness to adjust the basic time period of interest to fit major constitutional or regime changes in the political life of each country. While trying to apply the thirteen-year time slice to party politics in each country whenever possible, we in some cases adjusted the period of coverage to conform to abrupt political developments that occurred either early or late during our observations. Thus the adjusted starting point of the time period for Cuba is 1952, corresponding to Batista's coup and the end of democratic party politics in that country. And the adjusted ending point for our observations in Turkey is 1960, corresponding to the military coup in that country and the termination of rule by Menderes and his Democratic Party. Whatever we lose by shifting our comparison from 1950-1962 for both countries to 1952-1962 for Cuba and 1950 1960 for Turkey seems more than recovered by cutting out from both countries two years at either end that did not conform to the predominant political situation for the rest of the periods.

Of course, these major political developments did not always occur only near the beginning or end of our time period where they could be neatly sloughed off. They also happened in or near the middle of our period, where a similar method of "adjustment" would have eliminated half or more of the years from our observation. Indeed, this was also the case in Cuba, when Castro's revolution overthrew Batista in 1959. We deal with abrupt constitutional or regime changes in the middle of our time period by dividing our overall time period usually thirteen years but sometimes less because of tail-end adjustments-into two "halves"--making separate observations on party politics for each half. In so doing, we try to define each half in terms of the intervening political development, which frequently does not produce "halves" of equal size. The first half of our time period for Cuba, for example, is seven years (1952-1958), and the second half is only four years (1959-1962). While this procedure for "internal adjustment" of our time period introduces an additional complication in simulta-

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