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Workshops & seminars, Conferences & lectures

Introduction to Case Studies and Comparative Case Study Methods

with Dr. Derek Beach,
Professor University of Aarhus, Denmark
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 –
Friday, May 12, 2017
9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Derek Beach
Professor of Political Science
University of Aarhus, Denmark


This event is free


Henry F. Hall Building
1455 De Maisonneuve W.




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 2016 book on causal case study methods co-authored by the instructor.

The course can either be followed as a stand-alone three day module, or preferably as part of a series of courses relating 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.

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