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Contributors:
  1. Zac Greene
  2. Zoltan Fazekas

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Description: Automated text analytic techniques have taken on an increasingly important role in the study of parties and political speech. Researchers have studied manifestos, speeches in parliament, and debates at party national meetings. These methods have demonstrated substantial promise for measuring latent characteristics of texts. In application, however, scaling models require a large number of decisions on the part of the researcher that likely hold substantive implications for the analysis. Past researchers proposed discussion of these implications, but there is no clear prescription or systematic examination of these choices with the goal of establishing a set of best practices based on their implications for speeches at parties’ national meetings in a comparative setting. We examine the implications of these choices with data from intra-party meetings in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and prime minister speeches in Denmark. We conclude with considerations for those undertaking political text analyses.

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