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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

American Political Development (APD) research is well positioned to benefit from advances in qualitative methodology. Drawing on those tools and research strategies more regularly and explicitly, this essay argues, should help to foster more cumulative research programs both within the APD community and across related historical-institutional subfields. Reviewing three common modes of analysis found in APD scholarship, this essay suggests that more explicit identification of each study’s main theoretical contributions and empirical limitations should help to promote more healthy debate around matters of evidence and theory and make it easier for the community of scholars to identify areas in which to build on each other’s work and make more incremental, cumulative gains.

Keywords: qualitative methods, historical-institutionalism, hypothesis testing, concept formation, case studies, causal mechanisms, comparative-historical analysis

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