Methodological note

AuthorAnglmayer, Irmgard
EPRS | European Parli amentary Re search Servic e
Methodological note
This study dra ws on a sur vey EPRS conducted among Eur opea n national parliaments. Th e su rvey
aimed at mapping parliaments' capacities and pract ices in the field of ex-ante impact assessment
and ex-post evaluation. It was laun ched in July 2019, via the European Centr e for Parliamen tary
Research and Docum entation (ECPRD), which is the network o f parliamentary research services
of all EU an d Council of Eur ope member s tates.
The questionnaire was designed to yield detailed, yet comparable data. Respondents were asked to
select applicable pre-defined an swers, and to complement them wit h free-text comments.
Bicameral parliaments – 12 exist in t he EU-27 alo newere r equested to provide a sepa rate an swer
for e ach cha mber. 1
By t he end o f Augu st 2019, 22 out of the then 28 EU national parliaments had replied to the survey.
Such a high response rate s uggested a genuine inter est in the topic on the s ide of na tional
parliaments, prompting EPRS to further endea vour to com plete the pictur e across the EU. By
Novem ber 2019, par liaments of all EU Member States had returned the ques tionnaire, although two
bicameral parliamen ts replied for on e chamber only.2 Addit ional responses were received from the
national parliaments of the following Council of Europe countries: Albania, Canada,3 Ic elan d,
Montenegro, Moldova, North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Turkey.
Substantial furthe r desk research was undertaken to complement and triangulate the information
obtained through the survey. This applies in part icular to chapt ers 2 and 3 of this study, which
describe the level, processes and part icularities of in dividual parliaments' engagement in ex-ante
impact assessment and ex-post evaluation. Overall, these country chapters vary greatly in length
and depth, depending on parliaments' engagement on the one hand, and the availability of pub licly
available primary and secondary information on the other.
Towards t he end of the drafting process, survey respondents from national parliaments were in vited
to comment on their respective coun try sections (cha pters 2 and 3). The fact that nearly all
respond ents made use of this review o pportunity increas es the a ccuracy of t his paper . This study
was peer-reviewed inter nally by colleagues fr om EPRS.
In analysing the r egulato ry policy practices of such a high number of national parliaments in a
comparative manner, this study explo res somewha t uncha rtered territ ory . However, it has clear
limita tions.
Firs tly, the study relies heavily on self-repor ted data. Th is co ul d be only to some extent
(and not for all countries) objectivised and tested thr ough desk research, depending on
the wealth of data pr ovided o n par liaments ' websites and t he ava ilability of further
infor mation and research sources.
Secon dly, the study is limit ed to d escribing and ana lysing p arliamen tary practice s in
place. Although p arliaments were requested to pr ovide samples of their wor k a nd
samples r eceived were mostly looked at, la ngu age per m itt ing – it would go beyond the
scope of this study to systematically assess the methodology parl iame nts u se fo r their
regu latory policy wor k and the quality of par liaments ' impact assessment and
evaluation output. This would require further research work.
1 The followi ng EU-27 parl iame nts have two chambe rs: A ustr ia, Be lgi um, Czechi a, France , G erman y, Ire land, It aly,
Nether lands, Pol and, Romania, Slovenia and Spain. In additi on, from the countr ies surveye d outsi de t he EU, Canada,
Switz erl and and th e UK have bicame ral par liam entar y syst ems.
2 No responses were received from the Dutch and the Romanian Senate.
3 Canada holds obser ver stat us with the Council of Europe .

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