Conclusion: Lessons for the Dialogue between Theory and Data



In the introduction, we categorized research designs along two dimensions. One dimension classifies them according to the focus of research as factor-centric or outcome-centric; on the other dimension, we distinguished large-n and small-n research designs according to the number of observations. Yet we also claimed that, no matter which research design we use, we all face the same set of core research design issues: Defining the research question and problem, specifying concepts and theory, operationalizing and measuring them, selecting cases and observations, controlling for alternative explanations, and drawing theoretical conclusions from the empirical analysis. Each of the preceding chapters then took on one of these issues and explicated the challenges, and also provided some hands-on advice on how to deal with these challenges.


Research Design Case Selection Theoretical Conclusion Unify Logic Intentional Selection 
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© Thomas Gschwend and Frank Schimmelfennig 2007

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