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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2004

GOV 390L • Qualitative Methods in Comparative Politics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35350 W
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
BUR 234

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to qualitative methods, combining theoretical expkication and discussion with hands-on advice. We will first clarify the status of qualitative methods by comparison to quantitative approached and formal modeling. We will then analyze the most important approaches to small-N analysis, especially "single-case" studies, structured-focused comparisons of a small number of cases, Charles Ragin's Boolean approach to the analysis of medium-sized number of cases, and his "fuzzy-set" approach. We will also study concept formation and counter-factual analysis. In the more "applied" section of the coures, we will discuss and elaborate research designs and examine different strategies for the collection of qualitative information, especially personal interviews and archival research.

Grading Policy

Two 8-10 page essays about questions distributed by the instructor; one 10 page research design; two to three 2-3 page papers on weekly discussion questions. Ample participation in class discussion.


Gerring, John. Social Science Methodology (Cambrige, 2001) Ragin, Charles. Fuzzy-Set Social Science (Chicago, 2000) Bennett, Andrew and Alexander George. Forthcoming book on structured-focused comparison. King, Gary, Robert Keahane and Sidney Verba. Designing Social Inquiry. (Princeton, 1994) Brady, Henry and David Collier, eds. Rethinking Social Inquiry (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming)


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