The Return of the Single Country Study

30 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2018

See all articles by Thomas B. Pepinsky

Thomas B. Pepinsky

Cornell University - Department of Government

Date Written: June 15, 2018

Abstract

This essay reviews the changing status of single country research in comparative politics, a field defined by the concept of comparison. An analysis of articles published in top general and comparative politics field journals reveals that single country research has evolved from an emphasis on description and theory generation to an emphasis on hypothesis testing and research design. This change is a result of shifting preferences for internal versus external validity combined with the quantitative and causal inference revolutions in the social sciences. A consequence of this shift is a change in substantive focus from macropolitical phenomena to micro-level processes, with consequences for the ability of comparative politics to address many substantive political phenomena that have long been at the center of the field.

Keywords: comparative politics, methodology, qualitative methods, case studies, design-based inference

Suggested Citation

Pepinsky, Thomas B., The Return of the Single Country Study (June 15, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3197172 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3197172

Thomas B. Pepinsky (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Government ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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