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Qualitative Methods – Comparative case study design

June 3, 2019 - June 7, 2019

various - see flyer

Qualitative Methods – Comparative case study design

Upgrade your qualitative method skills

We offer two tailored 5-day (1 week) qualitative methods modules on one of the UK’s most scenic university campuses, close to the lovely beaches of Cornwall. The modules have a practical, hands-on focus on the possibilities and pitfalls of applying a range of comparative qualitative and case study techniques in different research settings. Each module has up to 25 participants and consists of a 3 hour seminar in the morning and a 1 hour lab session in the afternoon each day.

The modules are open to postgraduate research students, PhD students, postdocs, academics, and research-oriented practitioners who engage in social research, across the UK and internationally. Upon completion of a written assignment, each module is credited with an equivalent of 7.5 ECTS points. You can also attend the modules without getting credits if you wish to.

You can sign up for one or both modules. If you have any questions, please contact us at penryn-methods@exeter.ac.uk

Week 1: Comparative Case Study Design
When? 3-7 June 2019

What? This module provides you with the skills needed to design your qualitative case study research. It covers concept formation, casing and case selection, logics and strategies of comparison, accounting for context and time, data collection strategies, and both conceptual and research-practical issues such as limited diversity, Galton’s problem, conceptual stretching, and thinking about scope conditions. In the lab sessions, we will work extensively with you on your own research projects.

  • The logic and goals of qualitative comparative case study research
  • Defining, structuring and measuring social science concepts and typologies
  • Casing: what is a case? What is context?
  • Case selection and scope conditions
  • Logics and techniques of comparison across time and space

Who? The course targets MRes and PhD students, researchers and research-oriented practitioners from the United Kingdom and abroad, in the social sciences and beyond. You should have basic knowledge of empirical social research (e.g. what is a case and what is a variable). Those who bring along a specific empirical project will benefit most, but this is not required.

Module aims
At the end of the week, you will:

  • Be able to find the suitable comparative case study research design to answer your research question
  • Know common techniques of structuring and defining concepts, defining and selecting cases, thinking about time and context in comparative case study research, and analysing and comparing cases depending on the inferential goal, and be able to apply them in your own research
  • Be aware of potential pitfalls of comparative case study research, such as limited empirical diversity and conceptual stretching, and ways of addressing them
  • Be familiar with some seminal texts about comparative case study research, covering both classics and recent innovations.

To get the most out of the course, you should reserve about 2 hours per afternoon for directed reading and other small daily assignments which are not graded. In order to obtain credits (15 credits/ 7.5 ECTS), you will need to complete a written research design of 4000 words, to be submitted by 12 July 2019. Full instructions will be given in the module handbook nearer the time. Please see the detailed module description for more information.


June 3, 2019
June 7, 2019
various - see flyer


University of Exeter


University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, TR10 9FE
TR10 9FE United Kingdom + Google Map