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Entry requirements: Bachelor's degree including 90 credits in a social sciences main field of study, and English B or equivalent.

Selection: On the basis of previous university credits. Between 30 and 285 credits may be taken into account.

Information about application for exchange students

  • Cancelled AS17 week 49-02, fulltime100%, day. Application code: SH-43150

Comparative Research Methods

Course 7.5 credits

Empirical research in the social sciences is often divided into two types; one in which many cases are analysed, using quantitative techniques, and one in which a smaller number of cases are thoroughly studied. This course focuses on the second type, a style of research sometimes called ‘case-oriented’. The course starts with discussions about defining comparative methods and the nature of causality (what we mean when we assert that an outcome has a certain cause), which may differ between types of research. The uses (or lack thereof) of single-case studies are then considered, followed by a review of the classic techniques for selecting a small number of cases for direct comparative study, with their respective strengths and weaknesses. Finally, a fairly new method, qualitative comparative analysis, is introduced and discussed.

The information below comes from the syllabus and is valid from: spring semester 2013

Course design

The course consists of lectures and seminars.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, students have

  • advanced knowledge of how empirical research in the social and political sciences can comprise different approaches to data processing and the understanding of causality
  • an awareness of the logic that underpins the choices made by social scientists when they decide how many cases they want to study, and which ones
  • familiarity with some of the most important contributions to political science literature on comparative methodology
  • the ability to apply their knowledge of comparative methods to their own empirical work.


The course is assessed by participation in course seminars, written assignments, and an essay on a chosen topic.

Grading criteria will be distributed at course/module start.

Syllabus valid from spring semester 2013

The above information and syllabus are based on the most recently validated decision. Any previous versions are available here.

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