Diagrammatic Approaches to Analysing Institutional Stasis and Change Over Time


Stasis and Change: Italian cars on the Tagliamento bridgehead near Tolmezzo [Public Domain]

This week I am chairing a panel at the 7th Biennial ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference. The conference timetable is available here

A video recording of an earlier version of my presentation at the Canberra School of Politics, Economics and Society is available here.

My friend and colleague, Stephen Darlington, is presenting his recent work on comparing the transition from paper to electronic health records in Australia, the United States, and Canada. Stephen has added the concept of layering to the temporal sequence model and this will be a major contribution of his presentation.

The use of diagrams is unusual in political science. Most of our work is text heavy and devoid of long lists or other "easy on the eye" ways of communicating information. But diagrams can help to conceptualise the methods adopted in research projects.

Typically, articles on historical institutionalism talk about historical institutionalism rather than demonstrating how it was actually used in research.

Following this conference, I am hoping that more scholars will be able to operationalise historical institutionalism as a result of these diagrams that help to explain what is otherwise a complex method in comparative policy research.

Later in the month, I will take the approach a step further to introduce the method to a multidisciplinary audience at the National Library of Australia's Petherick Reading Room. I hope to develop the approach to assist history researchers to provide a more systematic way of dealing with the past, as opposed to unguided historical rummaging!

One of the earliest citations of my work was of my diagrammatic approach to operationalising historical institutionalism. It appeared in a Whitlam Institute paper on climate change back in 2013. I've embedded the publication below.