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Coder Reliability and Misclassification in the Human Coding of Party Manifestos

Mikhaylov, S; Laver, M; Benoit, KR; (2012) Coder Reliability and Misclassification in the Human Coding of Party Manifestos. Political Analysis , 20 (1) pp. 78-91. 10.1093/pan/mpr047. Green open access

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Abstract

The Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) provides the only time series of estimated party policy positions in political science and has been extensively used in a wide variety of applications. Recent work (e.g., Benoit, Laver, and Mikhaylov 2009; Klingemann et al. 2006) focuses on nonsystematic sources of error in these estimates that arise from the text generation process. Our concern here, by contrast, is with error that arises during the text coding process since nearly all manifestos are coded only once by a single coder. First, we discuss reliability and misclassification in the context of hand-coded content analysis methods. Second, we report results of a coding experiment that used trained human coders to code sample manifestos provided by the CMP, allowing us to estimate the reliability of both coders and coding categories. Third, we compare our test codings to the published CMP “gold standard” codings of the test documents to assess accuracy and produce empirical estimates of a misclassification matrix for each coding category. Finally, we demonstrate the effect of coding misclassification on the CMP's most widely used index, its left–right scale. Our findings indicate that misclassification is a serious and systemic problem with the current CMP data set and coding process, suggesting the CMP scheme should be significantly simplified to address reliability issues.

Type: Article
Title: Coder Reliability and Misclassification in the Human Coding of Party Manifestos
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/pan/mpr047
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pan/mpr047
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1357793
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