Comparative method is about looking at an object of study in relation to another. The object of study is normally compared across space and/or time. Comparative methods can be qualitative and quantitative. Often, there is a trade-off: the more cases to compare, the less comparable variables available and vice versa.
The comparative method is often applied when looking for patterns of similarities and differences, explaining continuity and change. Often applied in comparative research is the Most Similar Systems Design (that consists in comparing very similar cases that differ in the dependent variable, on the assumption that this will make it easier to find those independent variables which explain the presence/absence of the dependent variable) or the Most Different Systems Design (comparing very different cases, all of which have the same dependent variable in common, so that any other circumstance that is present in all the cases can be regarded as the independent variable).
A challenge in comparative research is that what may seem as the same category across countries may in fact be defined very differently in these same countries.
News about comparative methods
7 Feb 2020
Why are some communities more likely to experience violent extremism than others?
19 Dec 2019
PREVEX will shed light on how the various drivers of violent extremism operate.
Publications about comparative methods
2018This part of the overall report (Deliverable 7.1) on the EU’s crisis response in Afghanistan, Iraq and Mali compares the findings of three comprehensive cases-studies. The analytical focus is on the output dimension of EU policy-making that is the output of decision-making of the policy-making machinery...
Research projects about comparative methods
2021 - 2024 (Ongoing)
How is the political authority to tax established, exercised and maintained over time? State-building requires predictable income. Without a domestic revenue base, even core activities states are expected...
2021 - 2022 (Ongoing)
China's utilisation of economic statecraft as a foreign policy tool challenges the accustomed distinction between Norwegian business policies, and Norwegian security policy. This opens for a novel...
Photo: NTB Scanpix
2021 - 2025 (Ongoing)
In recent years, in response to the rise of ISIS, governments in the Middle East have begun to control the religious spheres in their countries more tightly. In Egypt, for example, President Abdulfattah...