This Guide presents International IDEA’s State of Democracy (SoD) Assessment Framework.

Developed for public use around the world, the SoD Framework has been applied in some 20 countries since its first launch in 2000.

The Framework is different from other methodologies because its comprehensive assessments are led and owned by local actors, and move away from the practice of ranking democratic performance and making external judgements. It combines a commitment to the principles of democracy with dialogue, and looks beyond the formal existence of democratic institutions and focuses, more importantly, on their performance.

The Guide also links assessment to reform and in doing so, highlights achievements and challenges as well as lessons learnt from previous assessment teams’ experiences.

Others seeking to apply the Framework in their countries stand to benefit greatly from the experiences, lessons and insights shared from the SoD Network—a community of practice that has applied the SoD assessment Framework in their countries and regions. The Guide also offers guidance on sources and standards of good practice.


Publication date
03 July 2008
David Beetham, Edzia Carvalho, Todd Landman, Stuart Weir
Number of pages
978-91-85724-43-7 (Print)


Assessing the Quality of Democracy: An Overview of the International IDEA Framework

Foreword: the state of democracy


Acronyms and abbreviations

1. Democracy assessment: explaining the method

2. The framework

3. The assessment experiences

4. From assessment to reform: influencing the democratic process


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Assessing the Quality of Democracy: A Practical Guide

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