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Case Study Methods in International Political Economy

John S. Odell
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1528-3577.00047 161-176 First published online: 1 May 2001


IPE scholars frequently use qualitative methods to contribute to theory-building, but we could get greater value from them. Single case studies are actually a family of research designs: the disciplined interpretive case study, the hypothesis-generating case study, the least-likely, most-likely, and deviant case studies. The method of difference employs comparison and attempts to eliminate rival interpretation by choosing two or more cases that match in important respects. These methods enjoy several inherent advantages relative to statistical methods, and they suffer from several disadvantages. Neither family of methods is sufficient. The two complement one another and ultimately must be combined.

  • qualitative methods
  • case studies
  • comparative methods
  • political economy

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