Oma eelnevas töös olen keskendunud demokraatia mõõtmisele ning selle arusaamade määratlemisele ning viimastel aastatel ennekõike parteisüsteemide ja erakondade uurimisele, täpsemalt erakondade poliitiliste positsioonide ning nendevaheliste erinevuste mõõtmisele. Viimane nendest on olnud mu doktoritöö fookuseks. Samuti olen osalenud Eesti eksperdina mitmetes rahvusvahelistes projektides (MARPOR, Varieties of Democracy). Oma doktoritöö raames olen näidanud, kuidas poliitikast mõtlemine ja selle mõõtmine läbi ideoloogiliste dimensioonide (ruumiline metafoor) jääb paljudes erakondade interaktsiooni puudutavates statistilistes mudelites alla mõõtmistehnikale, mis kõrvutab erakondi üksteisega ja hindab nende erinevust poliitilisest või ideoloogilisest taustsüsteemist olenemata.
In my previous work I have focussed on the measurement of democracy and the analysis of people’s understanding of the meaning of this concept. During recent years I have devoted my attention to the analysis of party systems and parties, above all the measurement of the political positions of parties and inter-party differences. I have contributed as the Estonian expert to several international projects (MARPOR, Varieties of Democracy). In my doctoral dissertation I have shown how thinking about politics and its measurement through ideological dimensions (spatial metaphor) is in many respects inferior in explanatory models concerning party interaction to measurements, which compare parties to each other in pairs and thus evaluate their political or ideological differences independent of a pre-given ideological framework.
The objective of the current research project was to collect and analyse data from Estonia and other European countries about people’s perceptions of political landscapes using an innovative approach in political science, which enables to measure political spaces without prior ideological constraints. Corresponding surveys were carried out in the first half of 2018 and the collected data has been the basis for several analyses for political landscapes that show political spaces in many European countries to be triangular in structure, but with significantly varying content. The Estonian political landscape is very similar to those Western European countries that were included in the study, while those of Poland and the Czech Republic are not only different from the rest, but also from each other. Scientific dissemination of the results will continue after the end of the grant period and those parts of the project that I am most proud of concern the popular dissemination of the results in the Estonian society and public debates. Original political science analyses are almost never published in the Estonian language and the Estonian language literature in this sub-discipline is almost lacking. Thus, I consider one of the most important achievements of the project to date the dissemination of its results in the Estonian language sphere. On the basis of the surveys and analyses carried out during the project an article about the Estonian political landscape on the eve of the 2019 parliamentary elections was published in the main Estonian language academic journal Akadeemia. Additionally the data, analyses and the results have been introduced at several high profile seminars and in the Estonian media. As a result, it is hoped that not only Estonian politicians, but also voters have a better understanding of the political landscape that they inhabit as well as a chance to make better democratic political decisions.