Qualitative methods and cross-method dialogue in political science

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17 Scopus citations


The author accepts the basic argument that recent advances in qualitative methods have had an uneven impact on the three major empirical fields in political science. He emphasizes that scholars in all three fields have made significant contributions to qualitative methodology, but these contributions have a more profound impact on the practice of qualitative work in comparative and international politics than in American politics. The author argues that the differences between qualitative and quantitative or formal research are less pronounced than some would believe. In particular, the author argues that scholars have overstated the argument that qualitative researchers are significantly more skeptical of universal generalizations, more inclined to incorporate scope conditions into their theories, and more complex in their views of social reality than are quantitative and formal researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-214
Number of pages19
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Cross-method dialogue
  • Least-likely case
  • Multimethod research
  • Scope conditions
  • Selection bias


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