3. Designing comparative social policy analysis

Jon Kvist, University of Southern Denmark, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Olli Kangas, KELA, Finland;   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  Many important questions in comparative social policy analysis are rarely addressed up front. These are the questions that researchers routinely decide on when designing their comparative studies. A short list of questions the comparative researcher decides on includes:

 -Which research strategies are most apt for different types of research questions?
 -How many and which cases should be included? How should the cases or observations be conceived?
 -What are the concepts, definitions, typologies and other theoretical constructs?
 -Which indicators and data provide measures on these theoretical constructs?
 -What are the merits and drawbacks of different methodological approaches?
 -How is change and diversity assessed over time and space?
 -How is causality established?
 -How robust, valid and generalizable are findings?
 -How do we overcome challenges in comparative research like Galton’s problem, ecological fallacies, equifinality, and multi-finality?

Scholars rarely examine and discuss at length the challenges they face, the choices they make and the implications these choices have for research and policy recommendations. The purpose of this stream is to present and discuss the choices social policy researchers have to make in comparative research and in particular how to improve the state of the art.

In this stream we therefore invite papers that pay explicit attention to the methodological challenges and decisions that concern research questions and strategies, case selection, concept formation, the role for description and causality, measurement validity, robustness and the scope for generalization. We welcome papers that address one or more of these key issues. We do not invite literature reviews, theoretical papers, and papers already accepted for publication. Innovative papers discussing or applying new approaches are prioritized along with papers on comparative social policy that use established techniques and practices from other fields.

Abstracts answering this call for papers must make clear what the paper is about, what the contribution is, and not least how the contribution is made.

Quick contact:
(Antispam): 2 + 8 = ... ?