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Methodology This research used a newly created index, Societal Potential for Liberal Democracy, serving as the independent variable in the research. The dependant variable in the research is the degree of democracy, based on the Freedom House Democracy Index, chosen for reasons elaborated on in page 9. Conducting two new surveys amongst a representative sample of the Iranian population, societal potential for liberal democracy in Iran was compared to the same index in other relevant countries. Method The basic assumption is that, as a general rule, an index reflecting societal potential for democracy would correlate strongly with the degree of democracy in the same country (based on the Freedom House Democracy index). Cases in which there is a significant gap between the societal potential for democracy and the actual degree of democratization in the same country, indicate high potential for regime change – in accordance with congruence thesis, explained on page 18. There is also a school of thought which argues that the relationship between societal values and the level of democracy is reciprocal, in such a case the change in the level of democracy would be somewhat milder. This research used the indirect approach for measuring support for democracy in order to overcome the problems of unreliability and inflation of "democratic support" which results from the direct method, as elaborated on in pages 11-14. In addition, this research uses a more indirect approach – measuring the underlying values of the population using the Schwartz theory of basic human values and a questionnaire which refers solely to the private sphere, thereby further lowering suspicion by respondents, hence improving the validity of the results by minimizing resulting biases. As already stated, there is no existing index for measuring the motivational values which promote democratization. Therefore, a major challenge in this research was developing such an index. This challenge encompassed a few components: First, building an index based on values which have already been measured in existing surveys; Second, proving a clearly evident correlation between the index and the degree of democratization in a variety of societies, including non-western and non-democratic societies; Third, dealing with variance in the sources of data, resulting from differences in the questionnaires administered. In order to obtain the widest and most varied perspective possible, taking full advantage of the abundance of existing data, this research examined Iran employing three different datasets, each 23

Could Iran Turn Into a Liberal Democracy? Full report  

This research proposes new lenses from which to view the Islamic Republic of Iran, different than the common picture portrayed in the Wester...

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