Internationally Comparative Research Designs in the Social Sciences: Fundamental Issues, Case Selection Logics, and Research Limitations
Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, special issue "International Social Research"
42 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2019
Date Written: November 15, 2018
This paper synthesizes methodological knowledge derived from comparative survey research and comparative politics and aims to enable researches to make prudent research decisions. Starting from the data structure that can occur in international comparisons at different levels, it suggests basic definitions for cases and contexts, i.e. the main ingredients of international comparison. The paper then goes on to discuss the full variety of case selection strategies in order to highlight their relative advantages and disadvantages. Finally, it presents the limitations of internationally comparative social science research. Overall, the paper suggests that comparative research designs must be crafted cautiously, with careful regard to a variety of issues, and emphasizes the idea that there can be no one-fits-all solution.
Keywords: international comparison, comparative designs, quantitative and qualitative comparisons, case selection
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