Students of public policy are interested in understanding the processes that lead to policies being adopted, and the real-world effects that public policies can have. Case study methods are particularly well-suited to answering both questions because they allow us to explore how processes play out within real-world cases. In this introductory workshop, the goal is to provide students with a good working knowledge of how to use state-of-the-art case study methods in the analysis of public policy. We will distinguish between within-case methods like Process-tracing, and cross-case methods including longitudinal methods and small-n comparisons (e.g. most-similar systems).
The workshop starts on day 1 by introducing what defines case study methods, focusing in particular on the types of claims we are making and the types of evidence that we need to collect. The afternoon session will look at a practical example of a policy study that uses Process-tracing.
Day 2 starts with developing practical guidelines for using the core methods of Process-tracing and small-n comparisons. We will discuss when and how the different case study methods can be used. The course ends with a discussion of standards for case selection and generalization.