Single Case Studies Political Science

Single Case Studies Political Science-84
More recently, the case study has seen a revival of interest by social scientists as part of a multimethod, holistic approach that includes formal, qualitative, and quantitative methods.

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The course will help students to evaluate the methodological merits of those political science publications that use a smaller N comparative approach or a within-case approach and to design their own (comparative) case study research strategy.

With its focus on drawing descriptive or causal inference based on systematic (qualitative) empirical evidence, it is important to point out that this course is not about interpretivist, post-structuralist etc. Students interested in these important strands of political science literature are better served by taking the mandatory elective course offered at our department.

Fundamentally, case studies allow one to go beyond often simplistic quantitative analysis and develop contextually rich and in-depth pictures of the phenomena being observed.

Indeed, each major methodological approach plays an important role in the research cycle, with the qualitative application of the case study enlightening the inductive aspect of theory development through the identification of alternate causal explanations, new variables, or complex interactions of variables.

A tension results between the benefits accrued from this method and its limitations. Are hypotheses and theory valid only if they are testable and generalizable?

Within these debates over the fundamental usefulness of deliberative case study work are questions that address both the inherent strengths and weaknesses of such an approach.The first category encompasses single case studies, which are generally detailed histories of a specific event or result and which, he argues, have value for this history alone.The thorough knowledge of a country gained by such an intensive, rich study provides critical information that others can also benefit from.Furthermore, while throughout the course we will read applied case studies and try to practice specific research tasks, this course is not focus on the hands-on principles and practices of data collection, such as interviewing, archival research, field work etc.Again, other courses offered at the department are catering to these important needs. Conclusion The case study method has always been an integral tool in the investigation of social science phenomena, being of particular value when the number of observations, or cases studied, is limited in number, restricting the utility of statistical approaches.First, while quantitative studies identify outlying or deviant cases, those well beyond the expected normal distribution, quantitative methods are generally not able to explain the specific reasons for a particular case’s extreme variation from its population mean.Additionally, these in-depth analyses not only are a source of data for larger comparative studies but may also identify new variables of interest or suggest potentially new theoretical explanations.Lijphart’s other typologies include those case studies that are chosen specifically for theory-building purposes.He does, however, credit the case study with multiple indirect benefits, making it a valuable component in establishing political science theory.He identifies six types of case studies that fall into roughly two categories: those chosen because the case itself is of interest and that are purely descriptive and those chosen to inform and build theory.


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