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Chapter 1 Outline

by: Mariah Craddock

Chapter 1 Outline PSCI 1024

Mariah Craddock
Virginia Tech
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These notes outline chapter 1 from the text. The yellow highlights are words that I have defined, because of plagiarism laws they have been re-worded from the text. The green highlights are suggest...
Comparative Government and Politics
Deborah J. Milly
Class Notes
Comparative Politics, Government




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mariah Craddock on Wednesday August 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSCI 1024 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University taught by Deborah J. Milly in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Comparative Government and Politics in Political Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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Date Created: 08/24/16
Comparative Politics Chapter 1: The Comparative Approach: An introduction I. Asking Why: Research Questions in Compartive Politics  Remember the “5 W’s”: 1. Who 2. What 3. Where 4. When 5. Why o And we add to this “How” o Answers to these are based on simple fact  Why questions o Lead to more discussion and debate o Often times research is needed to answer them o People may choose to focus on differing aspects of the discuss resulting in different answers  Argument- a logical arrangement of specific evidence that is used to support a claim  Power of Because o Often answer “why” questions o Used to describe the cause of an event o Few political events are caused by just one cause  Comparative Politics- A field of study within political science that comparatively analyzes multiple cases. A. Major Questions in Comparative Politics (pg. 4)  Pg. 5 Table 1.1 : Prominent Questions in Comparative Politics o More specific versions of these questions are asked when doing research about specific countries o Questions can have several different answers o May be entering research to confirm your question o Open-ended- a question that can lead the questioner(s) to many different possible answers o Do not assume what you are researching is the only answer  Refer to Pg. 6 Table 1.2: Additional Research Questions About Cause and Effect B. Empirical Arguments Versus Normative Arguments (pg. 6)  Empirical argument- an argument that is created through observing the world o asking why a certain choice was made o The type of argument that is mainly looked at in our text o Link between cause and effect  Normative Argument- concerned with the way something should be done in terms of an institutions morals or ethics, questioning what is right and wrong o Comparativists do not use this type of argument o Do not evaluate if something is right or wrong  Goal of Comparativists: to find what causes certain phenomena C. Solving Intellectual Puzzles: A Contemporary Analogy (pg. 7) o Constraints of Comparativists in Puzzle Solving: o Lack of comparativist laboratories o Only have access to limited available evidence o Theories may never be confirmed o For successful research there needs to be: o Adequate evidence o Testing of hypotheses o Arguments made o Contribution to theoretical debate II. Concepts (pg. 9)  Concepts- an abstract idea that comparativists use when trying to answer the questions that they have posed  Include: freedom, democracy, justice, nationalism, etc.  Concepts are often categories but usually not clear-cut in political science A. Features of Good Concepts (pg. 9)  Clarity- needs to make sense and be specific  Coherence- needs to be logical  Consistency- should be the same across resources  Usefulness-  The text uses the examples of democratization on pg. 9-10 B. Conceptualization  Conceptualization- the process of creating abstract ideas or concepts, in many cases social scientists find that new concepts need to be created  New concepts should not be made just for the heck of it  Important to research concepts they may already be out there  Concepts become more specific when more attributes are added to it  Sartori’s Ladder of Abstraction- idea that concepts range in generality and they can be arranged according to how general or specific they are o Dependent on specific questions being asked C. Operationalizing: From Concepts to Measures  Operationalizing- once a concept is formed and clear it needs to be put into a form so that it can be measured o Can begin to explain cause and effect III. Empirical Evidence (pg. 12) A. Facts and Evidence (pg.12)  Evidence- facts that are used in order to prove a hypothesis o An opinion or point of view are not evidence  Refer to Table 1.4 : Examples of Strong and Weak Evidence (pg. 12)  A claim is made stronger based on how well the evidence backs it  Level of analysis- whether an oberservation is made at an individual, organizational, or societal level or the level at which processes operate o Cannot not make broad claim based off of small group’s opinion o Cannot make a specific claim based off observation of a large group B. Cases and Case Studies (pg. 13)  Case- basic unit in which a phenomenon is studies o For our use most of the time a case will be a country, during a certain period of time o Cases can be something other than a country  Political groups, organizations, specific institutions, historical processes, events, etc. (p. 13)  Comparative politics studies vary in the number of cases the include  large- N : study that compares more than two cases  small- N study that compares two or fewer cases


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