Clashing Validities in the Comparative Method? Balancing In-Depth Understanding and Generalizability in Small-N Policy Studies
General Subserie Research Paper No. 2013-02
31 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013 Last revised: 25 Apr 2013
Date Written: February 7, 2013
The comparative method receives considerable attention in political science. To some a main advantage of the method is that it allows for both in-depth insights (internal validity), and generalizability beyond the cases studied (external validity). However, others consider internal and external validity to be in conflict in this method, and claim that tradeoffs between the two are inevitable. This article addresses these contradictory arguments; and, presents a number of strategies and guidelines that may help (future) comparativists to balance the internal and external validity of their studies.
Keywords: comparative policy, political science, qualitative research methodology, research design
JEL Classification: K2, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation