The SAGE Handbook of Comparative Politics presents in one volume an authoritative overview of the theoretical, methodological, and substantive elements of comparative political science. The 28 specially commissioned chapters, written by renowned comparative scholars, guide the reader through the central issues and debates, presenting a state-of-the-art guide to the past, present, and possible futures of the field.

Chapter 2: Global Comparative Methods

Global Comparative Methods

Global comparative methods
PaulPennings, HansKeman and JanKleinnijenhuis


Comparative research is generally defined either at the level of systems (often national), or as a process by assessing politics over time (often yearly). Both descriptions are generally considered to differentiate the comparative approach from other approaches within social science such as rational choice. In line with this definition of comparative research, this chapter focuses on comparative studies in which the nation-state is the unit of analysis and countries are researched at one point in time or over time.

Both time and space are important dimensions in most research designs. Depending on the units of variation and the causal relationship under review, inter-temporal and/or cross-sectional variation will define the type of cases that are needed to organize the ...

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