Building a Disciplined, Rigorous Center in Comparative Politics
Newsletter of the Organized Section in Comparative Politics of the American Political Science Association, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1999
3 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2011
Date Written: July 1999
In the lead article of an important symposium on the future of comparative politics, Peter Evans offered a strong defense of what he calls the "the eclectic, messy center" in the field, located between general theory and deep immersion in cases. This article takes Evans’ idea one step further by proposing to build a "disciplined, rigorous center," situated between (a) recent innovations in method and theory that have greatly enriched the field; and (b) qualitative, case-study methods that have traditionally been the strength of comparative politics. Building this middle ground requires dialogue between quantitative and qualitative methods; incorporation of research tools and insights from the field of comparative-historical analysis; and interaction between theory-driven research and the inductive learning that can grow out of field research.
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