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Kristin Makszin

This chapter outlines practical strategies to increase the coherence of research design and methods courses in the social sciences by using recurring examples and case studies across various topics covered in the course. These courses are often survey courses that review many different topics without in-depth coverage of any single topic. This chapter outlines a role play about an imaginary pet as an example of a highly interactive approach to teaching concept formation, which also creates a strong foundation to remind students about measurement validity and reliability later in the course. Case study examples that encourage students to think creatively and provide students with concrete linkages across topics more closely simulate an actual research process, but in a way that is feasible in an undergraduate research design and methods course.

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Achim Kemmerling and Kristin Makszin

The recent literature on international policy diffusion and cross-border transfer mainly focuses on innovation and adoption of practices from abroad. But how sure are we that these transfers are stable over time? Whereas practitioners and academics are often concerned about too little change and political gridlock, problems of excessive policy change have received less attention. We define excessive policy change as a type of policy failure and ask how it is related to international policy diffusion. We investigate this relationship by looking at instances of (non-)reforms in welfare policies in Eastern Europe (including aspects of health, family, and pension policy). While not all cases of excessive policy change are due to diffusion and trans-border learning, we see that in many instances diffusion greatly contributed to the excessive policy volatility.