UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SEES0103 Comparative Analysis in Social and Political Research

UCL Credit Value: 15

ECTS Value: 7.5

Term 2

Module Coordinator: Dr Sean Hanley
Weekly Contact Hours: 2.0
Prerequisites: None

Summative Assessment

3000 word coursework (100%)

Formative Assessment

To gain feedback, students may write a short 800 word review of one of comparative methodology used in one of the example readings discussed during the course. Students will receive written feedback on this and an indication of its quality, but no formal mark.

Module Outline

The course aims to give students a broad understanding of the use of comparison for social and political research and of how the comparative method differs from other approaches in the social sciences. The course will also give grounding in how comparative methods can and should be practically applied in the social sciences. The course is run in a workshop format and involves both discussion of example texts and issues as well as presentations of key ideas.

The specific topics covered are: the relationship of comparative techniques to area studies; how comparison can generate understanding; how to select cases; the use (and abuse) of concepts in comparative analysis; the role of case study techniques for comparison; theproblem of identifying cause and effect; the strengths and weaknesses of ‘variable-oriented’ large scale quantitative comparison and smaller scale ‘case-oriented’ comparisons; and ‘configurative comparison’ including an introduction to Charles Ragin’s QCA technique.

Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.