Comparative Politics And The Comparative Method

999 Words Dec 8th, 2015 4 Pages
Scholars have long debated the most effective approach to analyzing comparative politics. In “Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method”, Arend Lijphart, perceives a problem viz., the low ebb of “explicit methodological concern and the implicit methodological awareness among students of comparative politics”(681). To address this problem Lijphart sets forth a systematic approach to political analysis, advocating for the greater use of the comparative method as the tool for political inquiry. Lijphart delineates the strengths and weaknesses of the comparative, experimental, statistical, and case study methods. By analyzing each method in relative terms to each other Lijphart highlights when to use and how to maximize the use of each method while designating the comparative method as the most effective approach. However, it is impossible to actually determine which method is the best - just because a method is easier to perform than the others doesn’t mean it’s the most accurate. Nevertheless, the comparative method should not be ignored, as it is an important tool of political analysis.

The central function of the article is to assess the comparative method in comparison to three other methods: the experimental, statistical, and case study approaches on two different criteria: (1) how well the method handles the control problem, and (2) how hard is it to obtain the data necessary to carry out each method.

The experimental method exposes one of two…
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