Chapter Nineteen: Comparative Methods
- Case studies. The case for case studies. Multi-method approach. Thick description. Types of case study: representative, prototypical, deviant, exemplary, critical.
- Pitfalls of comparison: varied meanings across cultures; globalization reduces the effective number of cases; too few countries for laboratory-style control; selection bias leads to over-study of particular countries (e.g. large ones) and variables e.g. economic ones).
- Qualitative comparisons: small N studies as a success story. Selecting similar or contrasting cases. Most similar and most different designs.
- Quantitative analysis. Dependent, intervening and intervening variables. A regression example. Outliers. Spurious correlation and the direction of causation.
- Historical analysis: quarrying for cases. Analytic narratives. Path dependence and process tracing. Critical junctures, sequencing and slow-moving causes.
Figures and tables
Multiple choice questions
Essays and term papers
- What, in your view, can the comparative method contribute to the study of politics?
- Explore how different types of case study could be used in studying one of the following: electoral systems, constitutions, the political executive.
Hague & Harrop, 2013 edn, chs 1, 19.
B. Geddes, Paradigms and Sand Castles: Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Politics
A. George and A. Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences
R. Goodin and H. Klingemann, A New Handbook of Political Science
H. Keman, Comparative Politics: New Directions in Theory and Method
G. King, R. Keohane and S. Verba, Designing Social Research
B. Guy Peters, Comparative Politics: Theory and Methods
B. Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science
R. Yin, Case Study Research: Design and Methods
R. Yin, The Case Study Anthology
- Committee on Concepts and Methods - A research committee of the International Political Science Association
- Comparative Methods in Political and Social Research - David Levi-Faur’s course materials
- Society for Political Methodology - The political methodology section of the American Political Science Association
- Consortium on Qualitative Research Methods - promotes the teaching and use of qualitative research methods in the social sciences
- Compass (COMPArative Methods for Systematic cross-caSe analySis) - brings together scholars and practitioners who share a common interest in a systematic comparative case approach