Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

Real Time Research

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The comprehensive database of PDC contains valuable information on parliamentary activities by members of the Dutch and European Parliament.

In addition, the Parliamentary Monitor and the European Monitor developed by PDC/ANP are suitable for researchers to consult when conducting research on parliamentary activities. This tool offers a simple overview of the various data and provides insightful connections in an appealing way.


Real Time Research

In order to be effective when dealing with current developments, it is essential to have quick access to relevant information and to be able to analyse this information in an accessible, well-structured manner. PDC, partner of the Montesquieu Institute, started with the development of a tool for researchers to analyse connections in parliamentary data. Depending on the dataset this instrument, which is known as the attention-analysis tool, can be used in several different ways for research purposes.

The Montesquieu Institute values transparent research. Therefore, the tool is designed in such a way as to provide maximum transparency. This tool provides insight into the information that is used when conducting research, and on the foundation on which this research is built. This offers other researchers the possibility to build on existing research, or to edit data without repeating the previously conducted research.

The attention-analysis tool is an interactive tool, which offers researchers the possibility to 'play-around with' data. One can for instance look at the changes of the data when one variable is altered. In addition, the combination of the different datasets and researches enhance each other and improve the possibilities of analyses.

The attention-analysis tool has been used for a number of research projects of the Montesquieu Institute.


Media analysis 'fracking'

Master student Jasper Verstraten (Leiden University) was able to undertake an extensive media analysis through the usage of the Parliamentary Monitor. Verstraten answered the following question for his Master thesis: how are lobby groups such as the Dutch environmental defence and beer brewers able to get media attention, and which strategies do they use in the discussions concerning fracking.


Commission seats in the European Parliament

Arco Timmermans, onderzoeksdirecteur van het Montesquieu Instituut

The European Parliament (EP) consists of multiple parliamentary commissions. These commissions prepare the meetings of the Parliament and play a major role in the drafting of legislation. Which EP-commission houses the most Dutch members of parliament? Are there visible differences between the parliamentary commissions? And do Dutch Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have a preference for a certain commission dealing with a certain policy area, such as judicial or economic commissions?

Professor on Public Affairs and fellow of the Montesquieu Institute, Arco Timmermans, has conducted research on the 'Commission-carrousel' of Dutch MEPs. Which parliamentary commissions are favoured by Dutch MEPs, and is there a difference when compared to the commission priorities from MEPs from other Member States?


The European Election Scale

Wim Voermans

How important is the European Parliament? Looking at voter turnout one could say that the European Parliament is not that relevant. However, when one scrutinises the competences of the Parliament the conclusion would be that the European Parliament is in fact very relevant. The Faculty of Law in Leiden and PDC/Montesquieu Institute have added another dimension to these research questions: how important is the European Parliament in the eyes of the national political parties? Do political parties send their most experienced politicians to the European Parliament or do they rather keep them in their National Parliament? And are there any visible differences between different Member States concerning these views? A European election scale is constructed under the directions of prof.dr. W.J.M. Voermans and mr.dr. J. Uzman.


Credible Political Leadership

How do politicians act when they are confronted with the media and how is this reported in the newspapers? Researcher Sabine van Zuydam, connected to the University of Tilburg, researched the credibility of politicians. She gathered data for her dissertation through the usage of the Parliamentary Monitor. In addition to consulting the extensive biographies of politicians, she collected articles in which the actions of political leaders were discussed in the media. Van Zuydam could systematically and swiftly collect the necessary data for her thesis through the usage of the Parliamentary Monitor.


Parliamentary Commissions

Marc van der Wardt and Daphne van der Pas, connected to the University of Amsterdam, are researching the social and political backgrounds of parliamentarians. This research, which is also conducted in the Netherlands, is part of an international research project. The researchers put together a dataset consisting of the political and social profile of parliamentarians of different EU-Member States. One of the indicators used by the researchers is the membership of the parliamentary commissions in the Lower House. This data and background information of (former) Members of Parliament was provided by PDC.


Developments in the Lower House

Athanassious Gouglas, visiting fellow of the University of Leiden and connected to the Catholic University Leuven, researched the developments of parliamentarians in the National Parliament. For his research, he has compared- and supplemented his research data with the data from the biographical archive of PDC.


The Parliamentary state of...

How effective are Dutch Members of Parliament? Through the usage of the Parliamentary Monitor one can scrutinise the number of times a parliamentarian has been a spokesperson or the number of parliamentary questions, amendments and motions of a Member of Parliament. How effective have they been compared to their fellow party members during the same period?


More information

If you are interested and you want to know more about the research possibilities with the data provided by PDC, please contact us via