Colchester, United Kingdom

Case Study Methods: Case Study Logics, Selection and Analysis Across Epistemologies

online course
when 5 February 2024 - 9 February 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee GBP 492

"An introduction to what a case is before moving to different approaches to selection, case analysis and in combination with quantitative methods.
Need to know
You should have some understanding of the social science research endeavour and have basic ideas about different ontologies and epistemologies.
Key topics covered
Day 1: Introduction to the course and what is a case?
After the introduction to the course, we will delve into what a case is and different forms of case studies that exist. You will gain an understanding of types of cases in relation to different approaches to ontology and epistemologies (positivist vs. interpretivist) as well as in relation to concept formation. Through detailed discussions and examples, you will also learn about the different shapes that cases take at different levels of analysis and the trade-offs associated with it.
Day 2 Case selection: single case study, their pros and cons
You will learn about different types of single case selection discussing their assumptions and reflecting on their trade-offs. You will also have the opportunity to practice those ways of selecting your case applies to your research idea
Day 3 Case selection: comparative approaches, their pros and cons
You will learn about different type of comparative logics, their pros and cons. You will also have the opportunity to practice those ways of selecting your case applies to your research idea.
Day 4 Case analysis
In this session, we will talk about different types of case analysis, ranging from Structured Focused Comparison to Causal Process Observation to Process Tracing. We will discuss trade-offs with each, and you will have the opportunity to practice your case analysis.
Day 5 Mixed-methods and end of the course
This session concludes the course is partly dedicated to different ways of combining case study work with qualitative approaches. We will also discuss the challenges and opportunities of each of the facets of case study methods learned over the week.
How the course will work online
The course is structured into five sessions spanning over five days, with two mini sessions per day, each lasting 1.5 hours. The course provides a safe and collaborative environment for discussing students' work and published research. Our ultimate goal is to make the course useful, and sessions 2-5 will focus on specific topics of interest to each student. Throughout the course, we will frequently discuss each student's research. You will be provided with methodological and applied readings to deepen your understanding of the methods we learn."

Course leader

Chiara Ruffa is a full professor in political science (specializing in International Relations) at the Centre for International Studies (CERI) at Sciences Po. Before moving to Paris, she was an associate professor at the Swedish Defence University.

Target group

The course is designed for a demanding audience (researchers, professional analysts, advanced students)

Course aim

"Purpose of the course
By the end of this course, the student will be able to

1.Reflect on what a case is, also in relation to the different type of epistemological and methodological positioning within political science;
2.Learn and understand trade-offs of different types of case study methods;
3.Learn how to assess and criticize the author´s methodological choices and in particular case study choices;
4.Evaluate the merits and trade-offs of different types of case selections and case analysis across epistemologies;
5.Choose and develop their own research plans of both the descriptive/interpretivist or explanatory kind;
6.Learn the different ways in which case study methods can be part of mixed methods approaches"

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 492: ECPR Member - check if your institution is a member on our website.
GBP 985: ECPR Non-Member


Funding applications for the 2024 ECPR Methods School Winter instalment are now closed. For more details on funding opportunities for ECPR's other events, please visit our website.