Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Inquiry

Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Inquiry

Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Inquiry

Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Inquiry


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Qualitative comparative methods – and specifically controlled qualitative comparisons – are central to the study of politics. They are not the only kind of comparison, though, that can help us better understand political processes and outcomes. Yet there are few guides for how to conduct non-controlled comparative research. This volume brings together chapters from more than a dozen leading methods scholars from across the discipline of political science, including positivist and interpretivist scholars, qualitative methodologists, mixed-methods researchers, ethnographers, historians, and statisticians. Their work revolutionizes qualitative research design by diversifying the repertoire of comparative methods available to students of politics, offering readers clear suggestions for what kinds of comparisons might be possible, why they are useful, and how to execute them. By systematically thinking through how we engage in qualitative comparisons and the kinds of insights those comparisons produce, these collected essays create new possibilities to advance what we know about politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108965743
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/07/2021
Pages: 225
Product dimensions: 5.94(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Erica Simmons is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies and holds the Department of Political Science Board of Visitors Professorship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Nicholas Rush Smith is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York – City College and Senior Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg.

Table of Contents

1. Rethinking comparison: an introduction Erica S. Simmons and Nicholas Rush Smith; Part I. Rethinking the Building Blocks of Comparison: 2. Beyond mill: why cross-case qualitative causal inference is weak, and why we should still compare Jason Seawright; 3. Two ways to compare Frederic Charles Schaffer; 4. Unbound comparison Nick Cheesman; 5. On casing a study versus studying a case Joe Soss; 6. From cases to sites: studying global processes in comparative politics Thea Riofrancos; Part II. Developing New Approaches to Comparison Through Research: 7. Comparing complex cases using archival research Jonathan Obert; 8. Composing comparisons: studying configurations of relations in social network research Sarah E. Parkinson; 9. Against methodological nationalism: seeing comparisons as encompassing through the Arab uprisings Jillian Schwedler; 10. Comparative analysis for theory development Mala Htun and Francesca R. Jensenius; 11. Problems and possibilities of comparison across regime types: examples involving China Benjamin L. Read; 12. Comparisons with an ethnographic sensibility: studies of protest and vigilantism Erica S. Simmons and Nicholas Rush Smith; Epilogue: 13. Theory and imagination in comparative politics: an interview with Lisa Wedeen Erica S. Simmons and Nicholas Rush Smith with Lisa Wedeen.
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