Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1439868
 
 

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Case Selection and Causal Inference in Qualitative Research


Thomas Plümper


University of Essex - Department of Government

Vera E. Troeger


University of Essex - Department of Government

Eric Neumayer


London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

April 27, 2010


Abstract:     
The validity of causal inferences in qualitative research depends on the selection of cases. We contribute to current debates on qualitative research designs by using Monte Carlo simulations to evaluate the performance of different case selection techniques or algorithms. We show that causal inference from qualitative research becomes more reliable when researchers select cases from a larger sample, maximize the variation in the variable of interest, simultaneously minimize variation of the confounding factors, and ignore all information on the dependent variable. We also demonstrate that causal inferences from qualitative research become much less reliable when the variable of interest is strongly correlated with confounding factors, when the effect of the variable of interest becomes small relative to the effect of the confounding factors, and when researchers analyze dichotomous dependent variables.

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Date posted: July 28, 2009 ; Last revised: April 18, 2012

Suggested Citation

Plümper, Thomas and Troeger, Vera E. and Neumayer, Eric, Case Selection and Causal Inference in Qualitative Research (April 27, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1439868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1439868

Contact Information

Thomas Plümper (Contact Author)
University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://www.polsci.org/pluemper
Vera E. Troeger
University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
Eric Neumayer
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )
Houghton Street
WC2A 2AE London
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer
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