Colchester, United Kingdom

Case Study Research: Method and Practice

online course
when 7 August 2023 - 11 August 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee GBP 478

Get a grasp on all key elements of comparative case studies and process tracing, and learn how to implement a sound case study.

Need to know

Prior training in research design and qualitative methods is recommended but is not required.

In depth

The course covers a combination of introductions of selected topics with interactive live sessions.
Day 1
Discover the key dimensions of qualitative research useful for understanding the features and goals of a study, for example in terms of the distinction between hypothesis exploration and hypothesis tests.

Day 2
Address the challenge of case selection and types of cases such as the typical case and most-likely case. Discuss different types, what they are good for, and what case selection strategies they imply.

Day 3
Process tracing is introduced, and you will learn how it can be used to study mechanisms. You will distinguish different ways of studying processes, and their pros and cons from a practical and methodological perspective.

Day 4
Learn about different types of comparisons. You'll learn how they relate to the types of cases and their choice, and the benefits (and limits) of informed pairwise comparisons.

Day 5
Discuss different types of sources and how to use them to derive qualitative observations. This discussion will be complemented by a distinction between different modes of making causal claims, for example, by focusing on the ideas of 'uniqueness' and 'likelihoods'.

In each live session, you will work with your own projects or published case studies to illustrate concepts from the methods literature.

As a part of this course, you will have the opportunity to complete a post-class assignment that allows you to apply the insights gained during the course. This assignment can take the form of an exposé, where you will utilise the course concepts and techniques to analyse and evaluate your own project. Alternatively, you can choose to write a short, methods-focused review of a published case study, demonstrating your understanding of the course material and its practical application.

How the course will work online

The course combines asynchronous pre-class assignments, such as readings and watching pre-recorded videos, as well as daily 2.5 hours live sessions with Zoom. To prevent Zoom fatigue, the course pedagogy includes small-group work, short, focused tasks and troubleshooting exercises using a range of online apps that support collective work and engagement with the course content.

Course leader

Ingo Rohlfing is Professor of Methods of Empirical Social Research at the University of Passau. He researches social science methods with a focus on qualitative methods, Qualitative Comparative Analysis and multimethod research.

Target group

Researchers, professional analysts, and advanced students.

Course aim

This course covers key elements of qualitative case studies and process tracing for the purpose of making causal claims about effects or mechanisms. Before the course starts, for each of the sessions, you can watch a recording that sets the stage for the live online sessions.

By the end of the course, you will have a solid understanding of the key concepts and techniques covered, as well as practical experience in their application. This knowledge and experience will equip you with valuable skills that can be applied to your research or professional work.

Credits info

4 EC
You can earn up to four credits for attending this course.
3 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions and engage fully with class activities.
4 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions, engage fully with class activities and complete a post-class assignment.

Fee info

GBP 478: ECPR Member
GBP 956: ECPR Non-Member


Funding applications for the 2023 ECPR Summer School in Research Methods and Techniques are now closed.
For more details on funding opportunities for ECPR's other events, please visit our website.