International Studies often compares different countries and tries to explain the differences between them. This is referred to as ‘the comparative method’.


The scientific method in comparative politics

Watch the next video, which explains the main tenants of the scientific method in comparative politics.

‘The scientific method in comparative politics’(10:45)


Reflection Activity: comparative studies

  • Find a paper: choose a journal in your discipline area, search for a paper that reports on a comparitive study. Read it and share your answers to the following questions in the discussion forum.
  • What type of comparative design has been used? Do you think it’s appropriate for the research question? Why or why not?
  • How would a comparative study inform your research question?

Comparative politics: key points

  • Two ways to compare two cases:
    • Both cases have different attributes, but the same outcomes
    • Both cases have similar attributes, but different outcomes