Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics

Theoretical and Methodological Challenges

Edited by Dietmar Braun and Martino Maggetti

What are the conceptual and methodological challenges facing comparative politics today? This informative book discusses four main challenges that create stress for disciplinary reproduction and advancement, while providing potential solutions. In seven chapters, the contributors cover the most pressing issues: the dissolution of the nation-state as the main objective of inquiry; the increasing complexity of concepts and methods; the capacity to accumulate knowledge; and the tensions between parsimonious and contextually rich explanations.

Chapter 5: Methodological pluralism

Olivier Giraud and Martino Maggetti

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, international politics


This chapter proposes an assessment of the various strategies implying the use of mixed methods in comparative politics. In the contemporary literature, methodological pluralism is an important tool to overcome inherited methodological rifts and strengthen the validity of results. The chapter presents the distinctive advantages and limitations of quantitative and qualitative research, discusses various types of mixed-method research and suggests going beyond the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research. A pluralist research method implies specific epistemological assumptions. It is argued that there should be a good fit between methods, their degree of sophistication and their concrete added value. Lastly, this chapter shows how mixed research strategies are able to integrate the understanding and explanatory potential of varied research traditions, and allow researchers to reinforce research designs in comparative politics and to better triangulate, test and validate research results.

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