The Case Survey Method and Applications in Political Science
15 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 16 Sep 2009
Date Written: 2009
The ever-growing body of empirical insights in political science constitutes a major challenge for scholars in almost all areas of research. Meta-analytic techniques, the “case survey” method in particular, allow to systematically and rigorously synthesize previous case-based research by drawing on the richness of the case material, on different researchers and research designs, and at the same time allowing for a much wider generalization than from single cases. We review existing applications of case-based meta-analytic methods in political science and related fields and critically assesses strengths and limitations of the approach for political science. Placing case study meta-analysis in the broader context of methods of secondary analysis that synthesize previous research, we develop a typology of methods according to the respective source of data as well as the method of integration. We review previous applications of the case survey method in political research and related fields and discuss the relevance of these findings as well as methodological innovations and flaws. We portray the case survey method (case-based meta-analysis) in more detail, drawing on experiences from our own research. From these, we draw conclusions for the applicability of case meta-analysis, discussing strengths and weaknesses of the method specifically related to political research and conclude with an outlook for further methodological improvements in the field of meta-analytical and other evidence-based methods.
Keywords: Research integration and synthesis, case survey method, systematic review, meta-synthesis, qualitative and quantitative analysis, environmental effectiveness, participatory governance
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