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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores two topics: comparative methods and methodological responses to contingent ‘truth’ claims of social science. The objective of comparative research is, by this approach, to investigate truth claims across a subset of all possible worlds. For many researchers in the field of comparative social science, these worlds are inhabited by nation-states, but they could be, of course, any type of organization or collective. The kind of truth claim that interests researchers of the study of comparative institutions is the identification of those institutions whose efficacy is universalistic or specific to a country. The objective of comparative research to investigate the domain and validity of a truth claim faces at least four challenges. For reasons of comparing qualitative comparative analysis and statistical approaches, this article focuses on the four challenges. It concentrates on the small-N approach of Charles Ragin to causal inference in such settings.

Keywords: social science, comparative research, comparative analysis, statistical approaches, small-N approach

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