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Chapter 1 part 2 and Chapter 2 Outlines

by: Mariah Craddock

Chapter 1 part 2 and Chapter 2 Outlines PSCI 1024

Mariah Craddock
Virginia Tech

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About this Document

Covers the end of chapter 1 and all of Chapter 2
Comparative Government and Politics
Deborah J. Milly
Class Notes
Global Comparative Politics
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mariah Craddock on Thursday August 25, 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 3 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: 08/25/16
Comparative Politics Chapter 1: Chapter 1: The Comparative Approach: An introduction Part 2- pgs. 14-22 I. The Comparative Method A. Variables and Comparison (pg. 14)  Variables- element that is observed and is more than likely going to change between cases  Outcome- synonymous with effect, an observable change that comes as a result to a social or political process  In the cause-effect scenario (XY) research should focus on causes (X) to explain effects (Y)  Dependent variable(Y)- the variable that is expected to be acted on or be altered  Independent variable(X)- variable that is not dependent on the actions of another variable  Reference page 14 for more explanation  Variation- the differences that can be noticed between different cases in any given comparison o Used to look at the differences between countries o Could be in terms of differences in wealth or outcomes of similar events  Most-similar-systems and most-different-systems o Used to rule out, for certain phenomena, plausible explanations B. Most-Similar-Systems (MMS) Design (pg. 15)  Most-similar-systems- a similar political outcome can be predicted and expected when examining two similar cases or countries –causes the same, outcome is different o May look for reasons why the countries are dissimilar to explain what there are variations to their outcomes o This kind of analysis is often done frequently informally o Refer to table 1.5 on pg. 16 o Refer to movie example on pg. 16  In order to make a claim valid one must o Consider and alternative hypothesis o Must examine and weigh out the various causes o Need plausible evidence to support your claim o Need strong argument that is able to link the cause to the outcome  Very important to focus on the differences between cases C. Most-Different-System (MDS) Design (pg. 18)  Most-different-system- a researcher identifies to cases that are mostly different but have the same outcome- mostly different and outcome the same o Focused on finding similarities between cases that could lead to analytical leverage o Refer to table 1.6 on pg. 18 D. Comparative Checking (pg. 18)  Comparative checking- testing arguments to see if they hold against additional cases or evidence o Involves a mixture of MSS and MDS  Generalizable- how applicable a given theory, hypothesis, or finding is to a range of cases  Often more complicated that is originally thought  Refer to table 1.7 on pg. 19 E. Within-Case Comparison  Within-Case Comparison- taking one’s own cases and looking at variations within it  Looking at different moments in may allow you to understand a case better  United States example in second full paragraph on pg. 20 F. Is the Study of Politics a Science? : The Limits of Comparative Method  Some scientists find the study of politics to be scientific in nature  Others do not think it is and do not think it should be  Social scientists cannot use the controlled experiment to test their questions in most cases  The best a social scientist can hope for is a hypothesis that is confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt  Use qualitative and quantitative studies to complement each other Happy Studying!! Comparative Politics Chapter 2: Theories, Hypotheses, and Evidence I. Introduction to Theories, Hypotheses, and Evidence  First step in Comp. Politics is asking good research questions relating to cause and effect  This chapter will discuss the tools we need to answer our research questions A. Theories (pg. 25)  Theory- A general explanation about how something operates, subject to the review of peers o Backed by considerable evidence  Often times people confuse theories with predictions (not backed by evidence) o Refer to Chicago Cubs Example on pg. 25, second paragraph under Theories  Normative Theory- theories that deal with questions relating to morals beliefs or values  Empirical Theory- deals with questions about factors and variables about the causes of events B. Hypotheses (pg. 25)  Hypothesis- a specific prediction that can be tested, may be questions that could be answered and explained by a set of facts upon further research o Possible answers to a question o Informally you can think of a hypothesis like a haunch  Deductive Reasoning- moving from general ideas to more specific examples by testing the ideas and seeing if they work on these specific examples  Deviant cases or outliers- a case, that in a given pattern, results in a different way than was predicted  Inductive reasoning- opposite of deductive moving from more specific claims to general ideas o Usually not used in comparative politics  Hypotheses and theories work together either further proving or discrediting one another  Hypotheses= tentative  Thesis- the result of testing a hypothesis, and it is backed up by empirical evidence C. How Theories Emerged and Are Used (pg. 27)  Refer to explanation of Theory of Evolution on pg. 27, first paragraph under “How Theories Emerged. . “  Testing a Theory o Examine whether evidence is consistent with the theory o Counter arguement will still occur even if research finds that evidence backs it o Further testing needs to be conducted  Rarely can a scientist prove a hypothesis completely true but make it increasingly viable o Ex. sun revolves around the earth to earth revolves around sun o Theories are imperfect o Can be improved overtime  Theories explain certain tendencies in political science o There are exceptions to many of them D. Types of Evidence  Qualitative- evidences that comes from observations of historical or contemporary events and shows relationships between these events and phenomena  Quantitative- numerical data such as statistics or figures, typically involved in case observations of large numbers  Inferences- a conclusion that is reached after observable implications have been tested  In comparative politics will use qualitative date about history because we only have evidence about what has happened and not what is going to happen  Evidence can only come from what has HAPPENED II. Hypothesis Testing A. Correlation  Correlation- the measurement to how closely or distantly related two variables are together o Positive- variables that are proportion to one another o Negative – variables that are inversely proportional to one another B. Causation  Causation- when one variable is the cause of another variable  Answer to “Why” questions  When there is causation there is usually correlation, however, when there is correlation there is not always causation  X leads to Y o Simple causal relationship  Definitional problems and falsifiability problem o X = Y o If x and y are equal to one another that means they directly correlate o Often leads to a meaningless causal relationship o Falsifiability- a meaningful explanation is contestable o Argument is valid but useless because it can never be otherwise  Reverse causality problem o X  Y o The causal argument is opposite of what the researcher predicted o Has potential to lead to disastrous conclusion  Endogeneity problem o X  Y o Endogeneity- when two variables have mutually reciprocal effects  Intervening Variable Problem o Intervening variable- not always a problem, x still leads to y but there is another variable that indirectly connects them  Omitted Variable Problem o X  Z Z Y o When we assume that x leads to y when in fact they can both be traced back to a different variable z and are not caused by one another  Spurious Correlation Problem o X  ?  Y o Some variables that correlate with each other but they have no causal relationship III. Critiques: Using Theories and Evidence A. Empirical Critiques: Using Deviant Cases  Deviant cases(pg.39)- instances that do not fit in with the theory or they exception to that theory o Help to understand why a theory does not work in a particular test o Give a better understanding as to what improvements need to be made  Empirical Critique(pg. 39)- evidence that does not support the original theory B. Theoretical Critiques: Improving Theories and Hypotheses  Theoretical critiques- taking an existing theory, revealing its logical limitations and improving upon them  Refer to box at the top of pg. 40  Critiques can also happen by people who are looking to propose a new theory all together o can be amendments or complete opposition  scope conditions (pg. 40)- the range of conditions under which an argument is supported o cases that do not fit is a good choice for further research o alternative explanations= better understanding of why things happen IV. The Challenges of Measurement: Biases, Errors, Validity  Indicators (pg. 41)- elements that act to suggest underlying factors  Bias (pg. 41) – giving preference to one idea or perspective that may result in error or unbalanced use of evidence  Measurement errors- usually some sort of human error such as recording the wrong number or a systematic error  Measurement bias (pg. 41)- when comparable results are not produced because of bias o May be because respondents in a survey were untruthful o Questions asked are interpreted differently by different people o When researchers seek to confirm their own hypotheses so they pose the question in pointed ways  Measurement validity (pg. 41) – how effectively a given measurement captures what is being researched V. Qualities of Good Analysis A. Step 1: Asking Good Question: Why?  Can be answered with evidence  Are interesting  Can be answered given time and resources at your disposal B. Step 2: Hypothesis Testing: Generating Good Hypotheses and Testing Fairly  Needs to be tested with as little bias as possible  Hypothesis based upon clearly defined variables and concepts  Hypothesis typically rooted in an existing theory  Important not to pick and choose evidence that supports your hypothesis C. Step 3: Balancing Argumentation: Evidence, Originality, and Meaningfulness  Make meaningful claims and avoid trivial arguments  Importance of originality- produce new knowledge  Does not mean to ignore old research, take it into account  Original claims are backed with evidence  Prioritize the variables that have significance to you  Refer to table 2.1 on pg. 44


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