Democratization and Research Methods by Michael Coppedge

By Michael Coppedge

Democratization and examine equipment is a coherent survey and critique of either democratization study and the method of comparative politics. the 2 topics improve one another: the democratization literature illustrates the benefits and downsides of assorted methodological techniques, and the critique of tools is smart of the titanic and bewildering democratization box. Michael Coppedge argues that every of the 3 major methods in comparative politics - case reviews and comparative histories, formal modeling, and large-sample statistical research - accomplishes one basic study objective rather good: "thickness," integration, and generalization, respectively. through the publication, entire surveys of democratization examine show that every strategy accomplishes this type of ambitions good however the different poorly. Chapters hide conceptualization and size, case reviews and comparative histories, formal types and theories, political tradition and survey study, and quantitative trying out. the ultimate bankruptcy summarizes the nation of data approximately democratization and lays out an schedule for multimethod learn.

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Useful theories about politics, therefore, are intended to be understood as only partially true, other things being equal (ceteris paribus), and expected to be inconsistent with some of the evidence. Theories of necessary or sufficient conditions are not, in my view, useful ways of thinking about complex political reality. There does not seem to be a well-accepted, clear-cut distinction between theories and models, so I take a cue from Hempel and say that a model "has the character of a theory with a more or less limited scope of application" (Hempel 1965, 446).

The more heterogeneous reality is, the more it may be necessary to postulate additional tiers of laws determining laws determining laws until eventually this complex hierarchy of laws accounts for all of the variation we observe. A perhaps too-literal example: speed limits vary within a town. Suppose we find that in Squaresville, speed limits correspond perfectly to public safety considerations: how wide the street is, how straight and flat, the distance between intersections, proximity to schools and playing children, and so forth.

It would state, in effect, that the theory applies everywhere except where it doesn't, or that it applies only in Western Europe because we say so. The justification for bounding a theory does not have to be fully developed because general theory is a work in progress; but scholars have an obligation at least to recognize this issue and Democratization and research methods Criteria for evaluating causal theories to suggest possible reasons for circumscribing the relevance of their theories to certain times and places.

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