Monthly Archives: May 2011

Case study research: How social science underestimates it and places obstacles in its way

I’m at the Canadian Political Science Association meeting in Waterloo, Ontario, delivering a paper that makes the following argument:

Political case studies have unjustifiably acquired a reputation for being semi-anecdotal investigations of the small details of individual circumstances, research that is incapable of generating significant empirical or theoretical advances in knowledge. It is argued that the case study is, at best, a preliminary step, in that it may generate hypotheses that can later be tested using such “more reliable” methods as standardized questionnaires or statistical data. In the study of politics, however, that sequence of research initiatives may well work better in reverse. Continue reading