Select resources and materials on some topics covered at IQMR

Resources on Case Study Research and Process Tracing

The videos linked below are materials for a course by Andrew Bennett, Georgetown University, which is intended to enable students to carry out case study research in the social sciences.  While Dr. Bennett is a political scientist, the case study research methods covered in the course are applicable as well to research in economics, sociology, public policy, business, public health, environmental studies, development, program evaluation, and many other fields. The course begins with the philosophy of science that underlies case study research and qualitative research more generally.  It then discusses critiques and justifications of case studies, qualitative concepts and measurement, case study research design, typological theorizing, process tracing, multimethod research, and techniques of field research, including interviews and archival research.  The course also includes student presentations of draft research designs for constructive feedback from fellow students and the instructor, which assists those students who plan to submit a research design paper for course credit.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Provide a philosophical and methodological justification for their qualitative research, and to address common critiques and misunderstandings of such research.

  2. Understand the comparative strengths and limits of case study research vis-a-vis other research methods, such as statistical analysis of observational data and experiments.

  3. Specify the theoretical concepts in their research projects and develop appropriate measures of these concepts.

  4. Design a case study research project, including: specifying the research question, specifying and measuring the dependent variable and alternative explanations and their independent variables, selecting cases for study, and identifying the observable implications of the alternative explanations, including process tracing tests, and the kinds of evidence to be sought and the ways in which it will be gathered. 

  5. Develop typological theories, or theories that specify combinations of variables and interactions among them.

  6. Carry out both traditional and formal Bayesian process tracing.

  7. Design the case study component of multi-method research projects.

  8. Carry out field research, including interviews and archival research.

Class videos with links:

Video 1_ Introduction to the Case Study Methods (5 Minutes)

Video 2_ Philosophy of Science 1 (21 minutes)

Video 3_ Philosophy of Science 2_ Causal Mechanisms (27 minutes)

Video 4_ Philosophy of Science 3_ Scientific Progress and Theory Choice (19 minutes)

Video 5_ Comparative Advantages 1 (23 minutes)

Video 6_ Comparative Advantages of Case Studies 2 (35 minutes)

Video 7_ Concepts and Measurement (31 minutes)

Video 8_ Research Design 1_ Developing a Great Research Question (21 minutes)

Video 9_ Research Design 2_ DV, IVs, Alternative Explanations (13 minutes)

Video 10_ Research Design 3_ Case Selection (23 minutes)

Video 11_ Research Design 4_ Common Challenges in Case Study Research Design (12 minutes)

Video 12_ Typological Theory 1_ Complexity (13 minutes)

Video 13_ Typological Theory 2_ Six Steps to Building a Typological Theory (39 minutes)

Video 14_ Multimethod Research 1 (24 minutes)

Video 15_ Multimethod Research 2 (12 minutes)

Video 16_ Field Research_ Interviewing (37 minutes)

Video 17_ Field Research_Archival Research (13 minutes)

Video 18_ Traditional Process Tracing (21 minutes)

Video 19_ Bayesian Process Tracing (1 hour)

A list of the readings to accompany this course is available here.

Resources on Field Research

General Bibliography on Fieldwork

Data Collection Plans

  • These documents offer ways to think about and structure the data collection / generation process.

Preliminary Bibliography on Digital Fieldwork

The Art and Craft of Comparison by John Boswell, University of Southampton , Jack Corbett, University of Southampton , R. A. W. Rhodes, University of Southampton.  2019.  Cambridge University Press. CUP have made the intro open access and provided a discount code for IQMR students who wish to purchase the book (TACC2019). In the book the authors use the metaphor of a bricoleur to describe how they weave together a narrative out of different materials. These might be interviews / observation, but equally archives, social media or other online sources, newspapers etc.

When and How to Use Focus Groups

Bibliography provided by Jennifer Cyr, University of Arizona.

Reading List – Archival Research

Bibliography provided by Diana S. Kim, Georgetown University.

Resources on Historical Methods

Bibliography provided by Daragh Grant, University of Chicago, and Diana S. Kim, Georgetown University. 

Resources on Natural and Randomized Experiments

Bibliography provided by Christopher Carter, University of California, Berkeley; Pia Raffler, Harvard University; Tesalia Rizzo, University of California, Merced; and Guadalupe Tuñón, Princeton University.