At The Heart Of The Field Of Comparative Politics Lie A

1607 WordsFeb 26, 20177 Pages
At the heart of the field of comparative politics lie a variety of theoretical frameworks, each of which attempts to enhance our understanding of what is important in relation to explaining political phenomena. The aim of this essay is to examine and compare the features of the structural and interest-based approaches, through the use of empirical examples. As regards its structure, the essay will begin by providing a definition of the comparative method. Following on will be a brief discussion on its uses and a cost-benefit analysis of using such an approach. After all, it is the comparative method that will form the basis of the discussion to follow. The essay will subsequently identify the main differences between structural and…show more content…
The logic behind this methodology is that the more homogeneous the cases under investigation, the easier it ought to be to pinpoint the factors accountable for the differences between them. Faure (1994) argues that the most similar systems design is “the prevailing method (but not the only one) in comparative politics.” (Faure, 1994: 310) By contrast, the latter, otherwise known as Mill’s Method of Similarity, involves the use of less than 20 cases that are as different as possible, the purpose of which is to communicate the vigorous nature of the correlation between dependent and independent variables. Such a method assumes that by proving that the observed correlations hold true in different domestic settings, the line of reasoning should be better corroborated. There are many uses of the comparative method. In addition to the case study approach, the experimental method, and the statistical method (Lijphart, 1971: 682), political scientists draw upon the comparative method to assist them in the devising of hypotheses (suggested explanations of something), the testing of hypotheses (which are proven or refuted), and “the uncovering of empirical regularities and the identification of ‘outliers’” (Gherghina, 2017: 14). The comparative method is by no means faultless; though an analysis of its merits is required in order to demonstrate why it has stood the test of time in the field of political science.

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