Disadvantages Of Comparative Case Studies

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1. Introduction

There are many different methods social scientist can apply in order compare cases within the field of political science. Among the most popular are comparative case studies, Qualitative Comparative Analysis and statistical methods Statistical methods. They all have in common they they attempt to test the empirical implications of a theory (George & Bennett, 2005: 6). However there are also differences between the methods, mainly in their epistemological and methodological assumptions. According to Vis the biggest epistemological differences lay in the way causality is being perceived (Vis, 2012:171). Where as the biggest methodological differences are the ratio of how the different cases are selected as well as the operationalisation
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This is due to the fact that the cases are analysed as a sequence where A leads to B (Sekhon, 2004: 288). On the other hand is a disadvantage of comparative case studies that the entire focus is on a single cause only, which doesn't provide answers if there are possibly more explaining variables (Mahoney, 2007: 135). Furthermore is it less transparent and formalized than the other two methods I will discuss; qualitative comparative and statistical analysis. Comparative case studies are harder to replicate due to their very nature of being unique cases (Blatter & Haverland, 2012: 67; Benoît Rihoux & Ragin, 2009: 14). Which is also the cause for the last disadvantages; uniqueness of the cases leads to a lower degree of generalization of any conclusions drawn in comparison to statistical analysis (Blatter & Haverland, 2012:…show more content…
It is commonly agreed upon to apply all methods complementary in order to gain the benefits and advantages of all methods while avoiding the disadvantages (George & Bennett, 2005: 34). There is no golden rule of how to apply the different methods and it would depend on each research. But possible scenarios could be to use a statistical analysis in order to identify relationships between variables. Followed by a case study that can provide other why those variables relate (George & Bennett, 2005: 34; Sekhon, 2004: 281). It is entirely possible to conduct an analysis the other way around. By discovering formerly unknown relationships between variables via a case study. To subsequently testing with the help of a statistical analysis whether those results are valid for the population (George & Bennett, 2005: 34). Furthermore can the application statistical analysis and QCA provide a deeper understanding of the researched issue. Vis (2012: 169; 192) argues that the combination of QCA and other methods can be profitable of the researcher. Blatter & Haverland (2012: 231) suggest that QCA when being combined with another method is a great for a cross-case analysis and for example a case study could be used for the case analysis. It however should be noted that among all described methods only the QCA can account for causal
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