Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)

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9780262072571: Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (Belfer Center Studies in International Security)

Winner of the 2006 Giovanni Sartori Book Award, given by the American Political Science Association's Qualitative Methods Section.

The use of case studies to build and test theories in political science and the other social sciences has increased in recent years. Many scholars have argued that the social sciences rely too heavily on quantitative research and formal models and have attempted to develop and refine rigorous methods for using case studies. This text presents a comprehensive analysis of research methods using case studies and examines the place of case studies in social science methodology. It argues that case studies, statistical methods, and formal models are complementary rather than competitive. The book explains how to design case study research that will produce results useful to policymakers and emphasizes the importance of developing policy-relevant theories. It offers three major contributions to case study methodology: an emphasis on the importance of within-case analysis, a detailed discussion of process tracing, and development of the concept of typological theories. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences will be particularly useful to graduate students and scholars in social science methodology and the philosophy of science, as well as to those designing new research projects, and will contribute greatly to the broader debate about scientific methods.

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About the Author:

Alexander L. George is Graham H. Stuart Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Stanford University and the author or coauthor of many books, most recently Presidential Personality and Performance (1998).

Andrew Bennett is Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University and the author of Condemned to Repetition? The Rise, Fall, and Reprise of Soviet-Russian Military Interventionism, 1973-1996 (MIT Press, 1999).

Review:

"The more widely this book is read, the better future social science will be."
—Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

"In scope, clarity, and erudition, this book sets a new standard not just in the analysis of case-study methods, but in the study of social science methods more broadly."
—David Dessler, Associate Professor of Government, College of William and Mary

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