Evidence for use: The role of case studies in political science research

Abstract

In its most recent form, the debate about the relationship between quantitative and qualitative methodology in political science has been shaped by the publication of Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research by Gary King, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba in 1994 (hereafter DSI). The focus of this debate has been case study research. DSI advocates that qualitative research, particularly case study research, be modeled on the template of quantitative research. The authors claim that all research has the same logic of inquiry and that this is most clearly exemplified in quantitative work. I argue that the underlying philosophy of science of DSI is monistic and positivistic in ways not productive for understanding various different purposes that political science knowledge may have. Different methodologies have different strengths and so are suited to different ends. I examine this in relation to Julian Reiss’s discussion of different concepts of causality and argue that case study research is suited to understanding causal mechanisms in ways that make such research better suited to inform policy decisions. I finish with an example using David Fearon’s 2006 Congressional Testimony on Iraq.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,386

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-08-01

Downloads
68 (#235,043)

6 months
8 (#342,364)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

A Probabilistic Theory of Causality.P. Suppes - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 24 (4):409-410.
Causation in the social sciences: Evidence, inference, and purpose.Julian Reiss - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):20-40.

Add more references