How to conduct problem-oriented, comparative research?

I have long been interested in research design in the field of comparative politics and development, and I occasionally write on this topic. Usually, I am trying to thread the needle between compelling standards for making strong inferences, and the pragmatic imperatives of collecting good data in difficult places and the desire to answer substantively and theoretically interesting questions.


I contributed to James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen’s terrifice edited volume on comparative historical analysis (CHA) in the social sciences. Specifically, I consider the possibilities for integrating CHA with a range of social science methods, including experimental research. This piece was a revision of an earlier article I wrote on “Nested Analysis,” which appeared in the American Political Science Review.

Here is an article I published in Perspectives on Politics, exploring how the functioning of research cycles in the bio-medical sciences might be a relevant model for improving the quality of political science research. The editor invited several responses, and provided me an opportunity to… respond to the responses.

Some of my other research in this area includes pieces on causal inference in comparative-historical analysis, conceptualizing and measuring tax structures, ethnic politics (and here).