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A Tale of Two CulturesQualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences$
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Gary Goertz and James Mahoney

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149707

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149707.001.0001

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Within-Case versus Cross-Case Causal Analysis

Within-Case versus Cross-Case Causal Analysis

(p.87) Chapter 7 Within-Case versus Cross-Case Causal Analysis
A Tale of Two Cultures

Gary Goertz

James Mahoney

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the qualitative and quantitative research traditions treat within-case analysis versus cross-case analysis for causal inference. In qualitative research, the primary focus is on specific events and processes taking place within each individual case. Leading qualitative methodologies of hypothesis testing, such as process tracing and counterfactual analysis, are fundamentally methods of within-case analysis. By contrast, quantitative research traditionally involves exclusively cross-case comparison. The chapter begins with a comparison of the typical roles (or nonroles) of within-case and cross-case analysis in case studies versus experiments. It then considers how causal inference in quantitative and qualitative research is linked to the use of “data-set observations” and “causal-process observations,” respectively. It also explains the differences between process-tracing tests and statistical tests and concludes by suggesting that cross-case analysis and within-case analysis can and often should be combined.

Keywords:   quantitative research, within-case analysis, cross-case analysis, causal inference, qualitative research, process tracing, case studies, experiments, data-set observations, causal-process observations

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