This chapter explores the possibilities and challenges of comparative analysis in federal studies, whether directed at greater understanding of the promise and impact of federalism or of the way federal systems operate and evolve. Examples from the existing literature illustrate the dilemmas of large-N versus small-N studies, the limits of case availability and issues of case selection, and the consequent rarity of robust findings. The chapter emphasizes the need for greater methodological rigour in future research and suggests a focus on topics with the greatest relevance to the challenges of the modern world.
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