Designing Case Studies: Explanatory Approaches in Small-N by Prof. Dr. Joachim Blatter, Dr Markus Haverland

By Prof. Dr. Joachim Blatter, Dr Markus Haverland

The authors discover 3 ways of undertaking causal research in case reports. They draw on proven practices in addition to on contemporary suggestions in case research technique and combine those insights into coherent techniques. They spotlight the center positive factors of every process and supply suggestion on each one step of the examine approach.

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Extra resources for Designing Case Studies: Explanatory Approaches in Small-N Research

Sample text

The common thread in the research questions stated above is their interest in the effect of a certain factor or independent variable. This approach to case study research can be labeled X-centered,1 where X in our running examples is the political opportunity structure and veto points. This approach to research is compatible with practically oriented as well as theoretically oriented research interests. Regardless of the source of the research question, the investigator should (as in all research) be as explicit as possible about the relevance of answering the research question, for example, for those affected by a policy change or organizational innovation, or for the scientific community.

The first set is helpful for developing ‘typological theories’ inductively; the second set includes all those configurations that have been shown to lead to the outcome of interest. Within the CON approach, the researcher uses the insights gained in the case study for the debate on the relevance of theoretical approaches in the broader scientific discourse. The impact that the case study might have on this theoretical discourse depends on how ‘crucial’ the selected case is for the theories that ‘populate’ the scientific discourse.

They ask what factors lead to a concrete outcome or what makes a specific kind of outcome possible. For example: What factors led to World War I? Which conditions lead to social revolution? Because the researcher is interested in a relatively complete explanation of an outcome or a full-fledged understanding of a social process rather than the effect of a specific variable, this approach can be called Y-centered research. Nevertheless, with respect to causal analysis, the main difference between the causal-process tracing approach (CPT) and the COV approach is that, within CPT, the researcher starts with the assumption that a plurality of factors work together to produce the outcome of interest.

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