The investigators will use mainly the qualitative methods. The comparative analysis with a single case study of Turkey as the hardest one (so that if theoretical assumptions work in this setting, it will work also in other similar cases in terms of the electoral malpractices and political regimes) will be based in the theoretical sphere on the framework of categories of the electoral malpractice and types of the electoral manipulations. This shows the domination in the research of the new institutionalism which will be useful also in the context of the change of regimes influenced by the electoral malpractices, thanks to the possible use of so called “theories of institutional change”. As Adrienne Héritier indicates in her monograph from 2007, the rational choice institutionalism as well as historical and sociological institutionalism provide a useful framework to explain the determinants and reasons for the institutional change which can lead in the long-term perspective to the change of the political regime.
When it comes to the empirical dimension, a very useful tool will be first a set of different electoral and democracy databases and reports such as: Carter Center Database of Obligations for Democratic Elections, Perception of Electoral Integrity Index/Electoral Integrity Project, National Elections across Democracy and Autocracy, Quality of Elections Database (Kelley), Birch’s Index of Electoral Malpractice, World Bank Database of Political Institutions, Freedom House reports, Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy, Global Integrity Index, Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, International Foundation for Electoral System, World Value Survey, CIRI Dataset, Freedom in the World Political Rights, Civil Liberties Score, Polity IV, Quality of Government Institute or Election Quality and International Observation. They will help to identify the place of Turkey on the continuum – electoral integrity – lack of electoral integrity and to find the similar cases which will be analyzed in the last part of the research.
However, when it comes to the research on the main types of the electoral manipulations and their impact on the political system and political regimes the indispensible tool will be in-depth interviews with: the Turkish politicians; representatives of the international organizations monitoring the elections (ODIHR, Council of Europe); representatives of the organizations and institutions controlling and carrying out elections in Turkey (YSK, Vote and Beyond), experts in election law, elections and democratization in Turkey such as: Michael Wuthrich, Sabrı Sayarı, Ali Çarkoğlu, Yılmaz Esmer, Ergun Özbudun, Serap Yazıcı, Ömer Gençkaya, Ziya Öniş and Ali Resul Usul; Turkish journalists and experts on the political marketing.
An additional method will be the system method – when it comes to the role of the electoral malpractice in shaping different elements of the political system (state institutions, parties, civil society, media) and the decision method – in the case of explaining the reasons for use of “the menu of manipulation”. The decision method enables the researchers to take into consideration different categories of external and internal factors that determine the decision about the measures taken within the election campaign.