Untapped resources and quantitative data explored in new interdisciplinary research centre

8 October 2018

A man at a computer looking at data charts

An innovative research centre which aims to use previously untapped data sources and cutting edge research methods has been launched by the School of Law and Politics.

The Centre for Political and Legal Analytics (CPLA) will serve as the School’s hub for sharing knowledge on quantitative data analytics. The CPLA will build on existing staff strengths and make contributions to the study of Politics, Political Science, International Relations and Law; utilising the unique interdisciplinary environment of the School.

The centre was launched this July by Head of School, Professor René Lindstädt and colleagues Dr Kevin Fahey, Dr Zach Warner, Dr Douglas Atkinson and Dr Christian Arnold but the group has already accomplished a great deal since forming.

The group has created a data repository that currently stores the research materials for the International Parliamentary Assemblies project and the Welsh Election Study. The data repository is a mechanism by which scholars can publicize and disseminate their research materials to other scholars. In so doing, they can form collaborations with scholars across the global research community and help new scholars find starting points for their own research initiatives.

The group have also published papers in the field of security studies in the journals Political Research Quarterly, Journal of Global Security Studies, Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation and papers on federalism and subnational electoral politics in the Handbook of Territorial Politics, and Electoral Studies. Finally, the group have published on presidential politics in A Qualidade da Democracia no Brazil.

The CPLA are keen to foster relationships with other disciplines and academics across the University but also with external organisations who may require their expertise. One such organisation is Step Change, the UK’s debt advice service, which the research centre will be collaborating with to study bailiff/bondsman policy across the European Union and the United Kingdom.

In addition, the centre is also assisting teaching and learning within the School by working on the development of new degree programmes related to Data Science. Many organisations including the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Statistical Society have recently documented a crisis in data literacy. Consequently, the School has devised a new suite of programmes (currently in approval phase) which aim to produce data literate citizens and graduates.

CPLA member Professor Kevin Fahey said, “The role of the centre is to work as a resource within the School of Law and Politics to continue answering interesting research questions in novel and interesting ways. We hope to build on this foundation by hosting workshops on research methods and substantive topics, collaborating with staff within the School on novel projects, and advancing the goals of the University as it moves toward the 2021 REF.”

More information on the work of the CPLA can be found on the research pages of the School website.