Comparing Evidence Use in Parliaments: the interplay of traditions and practices in the UK House of Commons and German Bundestag

Headshot of Marc Geddes





We are delighted to invite you to an upcoming SKAPE seminar focusing on the intricate relationship between parliaments and knowledge. Dr. Marc Geddes, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Parliamentary Research, Berlin, will be our distinguished speaker for this event. More details below.


In this working paper, I examine the entangled relationships between parliaments and knowledge through a qualitative comparative study to answer the following question: how do traditions and practices shape knowledge use in parliaments? This is an important research focus because parliaments play a fundamental role in democracies through representative, oversight and law-making functions. And while we have come to understand patterns and trends of knowledge use in parliaments, there are still considerable gaps – notably about how cultural factors might affect the ways that different types of knowledge flow in or out of parliaments, how parliamentary actors evaluate knowledge, and their eventual use to fulfil parliamentary functions. To address this gap, I examine two contrasting cases and draw on rich qualitative data from each, namely the UK House of Commons and the German Bundestag. Through examining political and parliamentary cultures, organisational features of parliaments, and the beliefs and practices of key parliamentary actors, I shed light on how these important political institutions facilitate distinctive national cultures of knowledge use. In the German case, the emphasis on a highly structured and rationalist approach to policy-making leads to more contestation of knowledge than expected; meanwhile, the UK’s evolutionary or ‘muddling through’ approach means that there is less systematic but also more trust in independent advisory mechanisms. This working argument is developing through ongoing data analysis and will continue to evolve in the run-up to the presentation. 


Marc Geddes is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Parliamentary Research, Berlin. His research focuses on the relationship between science, knowledge and parliamentary politics from a comparative perspective. For more information about Marc Geddes, including a full list of publications and research activities, you can visit: 


This event will take place on Wednesday, 11 of October at 13.00 in the SPS Chrystal Macmillan Meeting Room 1.01, Floor 1

If you prefer to attend virtually, please connect with Iñaki {} to arrange for your online participation.


Oct 11 2023


1:00 am - 2:00 pm


Meeting Room 1.01
Chrystal Macmillan Building

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