Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: August 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9780857021083 | Print ISBN: 9781412919760 | Online ISBN: 9780857021083| Publisher:SAGE Publications LtdAbout this handbook
Chapter 4: Is There a Quantitative-Qualitative Divide in Comparative Politics? The Case of Process Tracing
James A. Caporaso
Is there a quantitative-qualitative divide in comparative politics? The case of process tracing The discipline of political science is said to be divided between those who pursue a qualitative approach and those who study politics quantitatively. As Pierson (2007) has shown, this division is uneven across sub-fields, with American politics the most quantitative and international relations the least. Comparative politics has a history in which knowledge of particular countries, their cultures, institutions, and behavior, are thought of as very important components of research, whether as context for more detailed empirical generalizations, or as objects of study themselves. As such, comparative politics has had to grapple with the qualitative/quantitative issue in a particularly intensified fashion. Yet, without a clear idea of what is meant by the qualitative/ quantitative distinction, it is impossible to know what is at stake. Below is a brief inventory of meanings of this term. Quantity as variation ...