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Parliamentary Committees in Democracies: Unit 4 Research Services for Parliamentary Committees.

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Presentation on theme: "Parliamentary Committees in Democracies: Unit 4 Research Services for Parliamentary Committees."— Presentation transcript:

1 Parliamentary Committees in Democracies: Unit 4 Research Services for Parliamentary Committees

2 Unit 4 Learning Objectives Recognize the role of research in meeting information needs of committees; Understand different types of research & know the skills required by parliamentary staff in conducting research; Pay attention to the political, ethical & technical considerations in legislative research.

3 Research & the Basic Information Needs of Parliamentary Committees Access to timely, up-to-date, accurate & well- researched information; Information is essential to highlight policy alternatives & consequences ; Access to information is a prerequisite for in-depth analysis & debate for committees; Research generates independent information essential for committee work.

4 Sources of Information for Committee Work Sources of information are needed by Committees : Professional staff of ministries, departments, agencies inform executive decisions; Monitoring & Evaluation, and auditing activities generate information for tracking progress which are essential for policy choices. Such information is needed by committees for effective oversight of the executive Government sources of information Committee requires structures to receive routine information from government sources. Example: Scottish Parliament has protocol between committee clerks & executive for open flow of information between parliament & executive. Details communication & information dissemination.

5 Why Independent Information for Parliamentary Committees? Experts needed to be effective in their oversight role; Independent sources of information needed to complement information received through government sources. Both provide the total picture and inform analysis when making policy choices.

6 Research & Information Access to information is needed to improve the quality of their decisions; Research offers an effective way to obtain unbiased information; Well-resourced, properly managed Information Centre provides committees access to comprehensive information; Collaboration among legislative researchers, subject experts, librarians and committee staff.

7 What is Research? Definition : research is a systematic, investigative, data gathering process of adding to knowledge and improving understanding. Types : Pure research – intellectually challenging, it may or may not have practical application now or in the future; Applied research – expected to be helpful in solving a problem, having practical application now or in the future; Action research – conducted to find immediate applicable solutions to an issue under investigation.

8 The Research Process Identify a problem or issue to be investigated; Research design – Designing the measurement strategy, identification of the target group, selecting methods of investigation etc; Data collection and analysis – Actual collection of information from the target group and analysis of data gathered; Interpretation of results and reporting findings.

9 General Tools For Research The Library & its resources – Research requires access to information. Researchers must know what exists if they are to understand the issue and contribute new knowledge. The library offers a one stop-shop for information. Techniques of measurement – Precision in measurement. Techniques to guide qualitative and quantitative measurement. Must be understood and appropriate measurement must be used for the right problem or issue. Statistics – The collection, analysis and interpretation of quantitative data requires an understanding of sampling techniques, descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.

10 Research Tools Computer & software – Researchers need: basic skills in computing in-depth knowledge of the right statistical software package internet research skills presentation skills. Clarity of Language – Research findings are of little value to the intended beneficiaries until disseminated clarity of language the suitability of the presentation of material is essential to communicate research findings.

11 Categories of Skills for Research Scientific Skills information seeking skills skills for information structuring information collection information analysis. Creative skills- critical analysis critical thinking Synthesis Evaluation communication skills.

12 Political Considerations Social knowledge is necessary; Clear understanding of political background of issue under investigation; Perspective of committees, political party groups, relevant stakeholders, society at large should be considered.

13 Technical Considerations Be conversant with current status of policies and arguments for or against support; Make arguments in larger context of local, national, international perspective & experience on the issue; Understand alternative perspectives.

14 Ethical Considerations Objectivity is necessary; Ethics & morality are central; Quality of information is critical; Clear options must be provided; Legislative researchers should be unbiased when conducting research for committees.

15 Unit 4 Questions 1. How important is research to parliamentary committees? 2. List the general tools for effective research. 3. What basic skills are required by parliamentary staff to conduct research? 4. What are the key ingredients of legislative research?

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