Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Comparative Policy Analysis


Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Comparative Policy Analysis

9781788111188 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of Government, University of Pittsburgh, US and Guillaume Fontaine, Senior Researcher, Head of the Comparative Policy Lab, FLACSO, Ecuador
Publication Date: 2020 ISBN: 978 1 78811 118 8 Extent: 424 pp
Public policy research has become increasingly comparative over the past several decades, but the methodological issues involved in this research have not been discussed adequately. This Handbook provides a discussion of the fundamental methodological issues in comparative policy research, as well as descriptions and analyses of major techniques used for that research. The techniques discussed are both quantitative and qualitative, and all are embedded in the broader discussion of comparative research design.

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This timely Handbook offers a wide-ranging examination of contemporary comparative policy analysis (CPA), advancing the understanding of methodology in the study of comparative public policies, and broadening the array of methods and techniques deployed by scholars in the field.
Internationally acclaimed contributors overcome the current concentration on quantitative techniques, engaging with a more conscious and comprehensive selection of methods to improve the quality of CPA. Providing an overview of the major theoretical issues currently under discussion in CPA and the methodological shift in social sciences, this Handbook argues for the utilization of a range of alternative approaches to maximize the utility of the research.
Far-reaching and comprehensive, this Handbook offers an insightful overview of methods for researchers of CPA looking to broaden their methodological repertoire. It will also be useful for students of public policy and the social sciences in need of a guide to contemporary research methods and applications.

Critical Acclaim
‘The Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Comparative Policy Analysis is a must-read book for those interested in advancing in the field of public policy.’
– Gabriela Lotta, Brazilian Political Science Review

‘An excellent, timely and accessible collection by internationally renowned contributors, this Handbook provides cutting-edge treatment of methods in comparative public policy, as well as their strengths and weaknesses for addressing theoretical issues. It is an absolute must for students, teachers and policy analysts, and I warmly recommend it to them.’
– Moshe Maor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Contributors: C. Anckar, D. Beach, L. Chaqués-Bonafont, D. Dickson, K. Dowding, A.S. Dubé, W.N. Dunn, T. Erkkilä, G. Fontaine, I. Geva-May, F. Gilardi, A.D. Henry, D.C. Hoffman, K. Ingold, G. Jaramillo, P. John, M.D. Jones, A. Kay, P. Marier, A. Molenveld, J. Muhleisen, D. Nohrstedt, R. Pacheco-Vega, B.G. Peters, O. Porto de Oliveira, J. Schnepf, H.B. Seeberg, A. Smith-Walter, E. Thomann, J. Tosun, C.M. Weible, B. Wüest


List of contributors xi
1 Introduction to the Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in
Comparative Policy Analysis 1
B. Guy Peters and Guillaume Fontaine
1 Introduction: substance and methods in comparative policy analysis 1
2 Theoretical issues 3
3 Methodological issues 6
4 Research design and methods selection 9
5 Conclusion: the importance of method for comparative policy
research and practice 14

2 The comparative method and comparative policy analysis 20
B. Guy Peters
1 Introduction 20
2 Modes of analysis in comparative policy studies 21
3 Sampling on the dependent variable 25
4 The comparative method and case studies 26
5 The possibility of hybrid designs 26
6 Several thoughts on small-N research 28
7 Conclusion: what, if anything, is special about comparative policy studies? 28
3 The most-similar and most-different systems design in comparative
policy analysis 33
Carsten Anckar
1 Introduction 33
2 The most-similar systems design 33
3 The most-different systems design 34
4 Deductive and inductive research strategies 35
5 Applying the most-similar systems design in deductive and inductive
research 36
6 Applying the most-different systems design in deductive and
inductive research 37
7 The most-similar and most-different systems designs compared 38
8 Criticism and response 39
9 The relevance of the most-similar and most-different systems in
contemporary research 42
10 Conclusion 45
4 Can a case study test a theory? Types and tokens in comparative policy
analysis 49
Keith Dowding
1 Introduction 49
2 What is a theory? 49
3 Testing a theory as an invariant generalization 51
4 Testing a theory as an empirical generalization 54
5 Testing a theory as a mechanism 56
6 Unique cases 60
7 Conclusions 62

5 Comparing policy processes: insights and lessons from the Advocacy
Coalition Framework research program 67
Daniel Nohrstedt, Christopher M. Weible, Karin Ingold and Adam D. Henry
1 Introduction 67
2 Elements of comparison when applying the ACF 68
3 Comparative ACF research: guidelines, experiences and shortcomings 70
4 Insights and lessons 74
5 Conclusion 81
6 Comparing agenda-settings: the Comparative Agendas Project 90
Laura Chaqués Bonafont, Christoffer Green-Pedersen and Henrik Bech Seeberg
1 Introduction 90
2 Agenda-setting models 90
3 Methodological developments 92
4 Political agendas 95
5 Measures of the agenda 97
6 Future direction of policy agenda research 101
7 Comparing historical cases: advances in comparative historical research 113
Grace Jaramillo
1 Introduction 113
2 Comparative historical analysis 114
3 Maximizing process tracing results 115
4 Indexes as tools of organizing and validating results 117
5 Case study: assessing industrial policy using an index of intervention 119
6 Conclusions 130
8 Comparing international policy transfers 134
Osmany Porto de Oliveira
1 Introduction 134
2 The comparative analysis of policy transfers: a challenge, solution,
and opportunity 136
3 Beyond comparative country analysis: transnational comparison 137
4 Issues, questions, and concepts for policy transfers comparative analysis 138
5 What and how should we compare in international policy transfers
analysis? 140
6 Comparing transfer agents, instruments, and arenas 144
7 Conclusion 148

9 Using experiments in comparative policy analysis: from policy evaluation
to the policy process 153
Peter John
1 Introduction 153
2 What are experiments? 154
3 Causal inference 155
4 The history of experiments in public policy 156
5 Elite experiments 159
6 Conclusions: lessons for students of the policy process 162
10 Measuring change in comparative policy analysis: concepts and empirical
approaches 167
Jale Tosun and Julia Schnepf
1 Introduction 167
2 Conceptualizing policy change 168
3 The multi-dimensional approach to measuring policy change 170
4 The budget approach to measuring policy change 175
5 The diffusion approach to measuring policy change 178
6 The outcome approach to measuring policy change 180
7 Discussion and conclusion 182
11 Using indexes in comparative policy analysis: global comparisons 186
Tero Erkkilä
1 Introduction 186
2 Background 187
3 Governance indicators and critique of ranking 189
4 Towards second-generation measurements: transparency metrics 190
5 Measurement issues in regional and city-level indicators 193
6 Summary 198
7 Conclusions 199
12 Using text-as-data methods in comparative policy analysis 203
Fabrizio Gilardi and Bruno Wüest
1 Introduction 203
2 Text-as-data applications in comparative policy analysis: an overview 204
3 Text-as-data in practice 207
4 Methods 210
5 New directions of text-as-data applications 212
6 Conclusion 213

13 Critical multiplism for comparative policy analysis 219
William N. Dunn and B. Guy Peters
1 Introduction 219
2 Critical multiplism and mixed methods 220
3 Some mixed-methods designs 225
4 Bounding multiple triangulation 232
5 Conclusions 233
14 Causal case studies for comparative policy analysis 238
Derek Beach
1 Introduction 238
2 Key terms 239
3 Variance-based versus case-based approaches to studying public policies 240
4 How to do case-based studies of policy processes 245
5 Conclusions 250
15 Qualitative Comparative Analysis for comparative policy analysis 254
Eva Thomann
1 Introduction 254
2 QCA as a technique 254
3 QCA in comparative public policy analysis 256
4 Approaches to QCA in comparative public policy 260
5 A case-oriented or condition-oriented approach to cases 261
6 A theory-generating or theory-evaluating mode of reasoning 263
7 Emphasizing substantively interpretable or redundancy-free models 265
8 Conclusions 270
16 Process tracing for comparative policy analysis: a realist approach 277
Guillaume Fontaine
1 Introduction: a popular method 277
2 Methodology 279
3 A template for realist process tracing 283
4 Conclusion: process tracing for policy learning 291

17 Using focus groups in comparative policy analysis 297
Patrik Marier, Daniel Dickson and Anne-Sophie Dubé
1 Introduction 297
2 Why use focus groups in comparative public policy? 298
3 The deployment of focus groups in Québec 300
4 Methodological advantages 301
5 Methodological disadvantages 305
6 Designing focus groups 305
7 Managing group dynamics 307
8 Conclusion 308
18 Using ethnography in comparative policy analysis: premises, promises
and perils 312
Raul Pacheco-Vega
1 Introduction 312
2 What is ethnography and how can it be applied in comparative
policy analysis? 313
3 Ethnography in public policy, public management, and public
administration research 315
4 Three modes of ethnographic engagement in comparative policy analysis 317
5 Comparative policy analysis and policy studies from a comparative
perspective: the two faces of Janus? 321
6 Which policy issue areas use ethnography? 323
7 Doing ethnography for comparative policy analysis: an applied approach 323
8 Promises and perils of the application of ethnography as a research
method for comparative policy analysis 326
9 Conclusion: embracing ethnography in comparative policy analysis? 328
19 Using Q methodology in comparative policy analysis 333
Astrid Molenveld
1 Introduction 333
2 Philosophy 334
3 How to execute and analyze a Q-methodology study 335
4 Conclusion 343
20 Using the Narrative Policy Framework in comparative policy analysis 348
Aaron Smith-Walter and Michael D. Jones
1 Introduction 348
2 The narrative policy framework 348
3 Universality of narrative 351
4 Traveling with the NPF 355
5 Limitations 360
6 Conclusion 360

21 Trends in the development of comparative policy analysis 367
Iris Geva-May, David C. Hoffman and Joselyn Muhleisen
1 Introduction 367
2 Comparative policy analysis development as a distinct field of study 368
3 The importance and limitations of comparative policy analysis and
comparative policy analytic studies 371
4 Trends in comparative policy analysis refereed articles: content
analysis of EBSCO all academic database and the JCPA 1998–2016 374
5 The Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 378
6 Conclusions 379
22 Evolutionary theory in comparative policy analysis 385
Adrian Kay
1 Introduction 385
2 Evolutionary approaches 386
3 Evolutionary frameworks for institutionalist theory in comparative
policy analysis 392
4 Evolutionary theory in comparative public policy: methodological issues 394
5 Conclusion 396

Index 401
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