SchoolUniversity of Ottawa
Course CodePOL 1101
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Comparison reveals greater insight than regular insight.
1. Single Case Study
•Most political scientists study only one country.
•You can still do comparisons even with only one country.
1. Change through time (i.e. same sex marriage at different times).
2. Situate your case study within the broad theoretical framework.
Into context of broader literature.
Compare the cause of revolution in your country to literature of
revolution in other countries.
2. Multiple Case Study
•What countries are you going to compare?
oNeeds to be a reason and rational to your choice.
oUse of area studies.
a. Most Similar Systems Analysis
oChoose countries from the same areas (Latin America, Middle East,
Europe West/East, etc.).
Less of a cost
Similar language, history, knowledge, culture, economic
development, religion, legal system, etc.
If you choose countries that are alike but have a difference in
certain political outcomes, you have many controlled factors/variables.
Everything that these countries share cannot explain
Only things that they do not share in common can
explain why their political outcomes are different (potential
Is able to facilitate the linkage between the difference in
outcomes and its cause.
b. Most Different Systems Analysis
•Studies across regions (or areas) comparing countries from different
•Consists of choosing countries that are very different but where one
•Looking for one of the few shared features to explain that common
•EX: Chile vs. Greece - Democratic Transitions
oFrom Dictatorship to democracy.
•Different language, religions, colonization vs. no colonization.
•Europe vs. Latin America.
•Still share one common outcome.
•Most successful and productive comparison.
oMore general theory of why something happens.
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