Security Studies coverAmerican political scientists who perform case studies straddle two very different strategies of inquiry. On the one hand, they seek to understand politics in terms of narratives that explore closely the events in a single historical episode. On the other, they work within a disciplinary framework that emphasizes the statement of general theories, the treatment of events as samples drawn from a larger population, and hypothesis testing using statistical inference as a central activity. That these two perspectives are deeply in tension has been recognized since quantitative social science began in the early twentieth century, and has been the source of seemingly never-ending disciplinary controversy.[1]

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