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For most researchers, case selection defines method: a few cases of a particular phenomenon make a study ‘qualitative’ but a lot of cases turns it into a ‘quantitative’ analysis. Usually a case is equated with a country, and there is often an implicit presumption that some sort of history will be traced. In International Relations (IR), qualitative method typically means a study of one or a few foreign policies, with a decision-making process to be traced at the micro-historical level (George and Bennett 2005). Yet for many questions, say, about globalization, countries are not necessarily the appropriate unit of analysis; economic systems might be. And historical evolution can happen at a higher level of aggregation, such as macro-historical changes in property rights.
KeywordsForeign Policy Paired Comparison Case Selection Single Case Study Causal Claim
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