Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method

  title={Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method},
  author={Arend Lijphart},
  journal={American Political Science Review},
  • Arend Lijphart
  • Published 1 September 1971
  • Computer Science
  • American Political Science Review
This paper is a systematic analysis of the comparative method. Its emphasis is on both the limitations of the method and the ways in which, despite these limitations, it can be used to maximum advantage. The comparative method is defined and analyzed in terms of its similarities and differences vis-A -vis the experimental and statistical methods. The principal difficulty facing the comparative method is that it must generalize on the basis of relatively few empirical cases. Four specific ways… 
Causal Inference and Comparative Methods
Mill's “method of agreement” is presented as an alternative method of comparison, a method that not only can and has been used quite effectively with survey research in comparative politics, but one that is completely free from the methodological short-comings attributed to it.
It is often suggested that cross-national statistical research is excessively narrow and oversimplified, that it is plagued by unique measurement problems, and that it can have few causal
It is argued that the availability of new cross-national longitudinal datasets, and the development of new statistical methods of analysis (and their related software) have given a new impetus to comparative research.
The Case of Case Studies: On the Methodological Discussion in Comparative Political Science
A look at comparative political science shows that many contributions to the field do compare, but do not reflect the methods used. This paper discusses the analytical differences between the
The Uses of Comparisons: A Critical Review of Approaches to Comparisons in Development Studies
Abstract This article discusses different forms of comparisons in development studies and some of the justifications that are used for making them. The main questions I discuss are the following:
The comparative method for policy studies: the thorny aspects
Abstract Over the past decades, the comparative method has attracted the attention of the theorists, and studies based on this approach have increased in applied policy research. In their daily and
Some Methodological Problems in Comparative Politics
This article attempts to highlight the logical fabric of comparison in comparative politics. The framework encompassing various views on the nature of comparison includes epistemological notions that
Comparative Research Designs in the Study of Regulation: How to Increase the Number of Cases without Compromising the Strengths of Case-Oriented Analysis
The aims of this paper are to explore the role of variations and commonalities in Medium-N comparative analysis and to suggest a technique that could maximize their explanatory power in the context
(Non)Comparative Politics in Britain
This article compares the state of the art of comparative politics in Britain with the US and continental Europe. Three main traditions are distinguished: a narrative single-country tradition, in
Debating the Direction of Comparative Politics
This article contributes to ongoing debates about the direction of comparative politics through an analysis of new data on the scope, objectives, and methods of research in the field. The results of


The Comparative Method in the Social Sciences
conceptualization, however, seem apparent enough. Some of the concepts employed by Parsons, e.g., universalism and particularism, and the universal categories offered by Florence Kluckhohn are so
The Place of Latin America in the Study of Comparative Politics
  • J. Martz
  • Political Science
    The Journal of Politics
  • 1966
T1HE CONTEMPORARY STUDY of comparative politics has been among the more vital and significant developments in the continuing effort to sharpen research and systematize methodological analysis. The
The Comparative Method and the Study of British Politics
My title suggests paradox. How can you make comparisons when you are dealing with only one system? The question has poini and I am going to hinge these brief introductory remarks on methodology on a
The value patterns of democracy : a case study in comparative analysis
Differentiating the core values of nations in terms of their relative emphases on some of the pattern-variables permits the comparative analyst to interpret the links between national institutions
Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics
“To have mastered ‘theory’ and ‘method’ is to have become a conscious thinker, a man at work and aware of the assumptions and implications of whatever he is about. To be mastered by
Why Exceptions? The Logic of Cross-Cultural Analysis [and Comments and Reply]
This paper discusses the factors causing exceptions to rules in the social sciences in general and in social anthropology in particular. Exceptions may occur through defective classification by
Political Groups in Latin America.
I feel it necessary to begin with an attempt to define the term "political group" as used in this paper: it is a system of patterned or regular interaction among a number of individuals. The
The Future of the Comparative Method
I It is tempting to say that the first prediction to be made about the comparative method is that after a brief flare-up of attention it will not be heard of again. Like many flip assertions this
The Logic of Comparison: A Methodological Note on the Comparative Study of Political Systems
During the last ten years the study of comparative politics has undergone a methodological revolution. Reacting against the static, formalistic, “country-by-country” approach of earlier students of
Party Systems in the United Kingdom and the Older Commonwealth: Causes, Resemblances, and Variations
THERE are good reasons for the increasing attention which political scientists have recently given to the study of parties. In a democratic community the party system forms the focal point on which