The aim of this introductory course is to provide students with a framework for understanding and using case study methods in your own research. A constant theme throughout the course will be on debating the strengths and limitations of different small-n methods, illustrating the types and scopes of inferences that are possible, and whether and how they can be nested into mixed-methods research designs. The core text is a forthcoming book on causal case study methods co-authored by the instructor – the text will be distributed to participants prior to the course.
The course can either be followed as a stand-alone three day module, or preferably as part of a two-week introduction to case study methods in the WSSR.
The course starts by introducing the debate on whether there is a divide between quantitative, large-n, variance-based and qualitative case study methods. This is followed by a discussion of different understandings of causality that underpin different methodologies, developing the foundations for three different variants of case-based methods.
Day 2 begins with an introduction to comparative logic, focusing in particular on Mill’s methods of agreement and difference, and the most-similar and most-different systems designs. The afternoon discusses how we can make inferences using non-variational, within-case evidence in case studies.
Day 3 introduces the two most prevalent within-case methods: congruence and process-tracing. The course concludes with a discussion of selection bias and how we can map populations of relatively causally homogeneous cases in case-based research.