This course offers an introduction to different comparative methods. It should provide the students with an overview on why and how we compare in the social sciences. As such, it is understood as part of the methods training at the ISW. However, it will not deal with specific techniques, but should lay the ground for understanding different approaches to comparative research. It will cover the logics of variable-centered (sometimes called X-centered), quantitative research approaches and case-centered (sometimes called Y-centered), qualitative research approaches. In class, we will use both textbooks and research articles to highlight the different approaches, but the students will also have the opportunity to present and discuss their own projects. It will be held either in English or German, depending on the composition of the seminar.
Collier, David, and John Gerring, eds., Concepts and Methods in Social Science: The Tradition of Giovanni Sartori, New York: Routledge, 2009.
Gerring, John, Social Science Methodology. A Unified Framework, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
King, Gary, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.
King, Gary, Unifying Political Methodology. The Likelihood Theory of Statistical Inference, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998.
Landman, Todd, Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics, London: Routledge, 2007.
Mahoney, James and Kathleen Thelen, eds., Advances in Comparative-Historical Analysis. Strategies for Social Inquiry, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Ragin, Charles, The Comparative Method, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.