Comparative Political Research 2013/14 Fall
(CPR_13)

 This course requires an enrolment key

The aims of this course consist in making students familiar with the basic rules of doing comparative research and introducing the most influential approaches and salient topics in comparative political science. The course, thus, will help students to evaluate the methodological merits of those political science publications that use a comparative approach, to recognize which intellectual tradition they belong to, and to design their own comparative research strategy. During the course work, students are asked to write small position papers and a longer final paper, to actively participate during in-class discussions, and to prepare in-class presentations. The position papers are expected to help develop the ability to synthesize the information gathered from the mandatory readings, determine a focus point, and discern the main line of argumentation. The final paper is expected to improve the ability to generate logical, plausible, and persuasive arguments, to compare and contrast, and to derive theoretical conclusions from comparative empirical observations. The emphasis on in-class participation and in-class presentations is meant to foster the skills of expressing informative reflections 'on the spot' and to decrease potential fears of speaking in front of others.

The course is structured into five parts of different lengths. In the first part, we introduce the basic rationale of comparing in political science. Part two constitutes the backbone of theentire course. We discuss several important basics of the comparative method, such as the logic of theory testing, the processes of concept formation and data aggregation, and the question of an adequate selection of cases. In the short third part, participants will be exposed to the 'meta'-theoretical paradigms in comparative research. In the fourth part, we will deal with some of the major themes in comparative social research, paying specific attention to the most salient political institutions and to the issues of varieties of democracies. In the last part, students present drafts of their final paper. The course meets twice a week. Most of the time, the first meeting of each week will be predominantly organized as a lecture, the second predominantly as a seminar.

This course requires an enrolment key