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What Is a Case?

What Is a Case?
Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry


Charles C. Ragin, Douglas Harper, Andrew Abbott, Stanley Lieberson, Diane Vaughan, Michel Wieviorka, John Walton, Jennifer Platt, Howard C. White
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  • Date Published: October 1992
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521421881

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About the Authors
  • The concept of the case is a basic feature of social science research and yet many questions about how a case should be defined, selected, and judged are far from settled. The contributors to this volume probe the nature of the case and the ways in which different understandings of the concept affect the conduct and the results of research. The contributions demonstrate that the work of any given researcher is often characterised by some hybrid of these basic approaches, and it is important to understand that most research involves multiple definitions and uses of cases, as both specific empirical phenomena and as general theoretical categories.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1992
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521421881
    • length: 254 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 154 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Cases of 'what is a case?' Charles C. Ragin
    Part I. Cases Are Found:
    2. Small Ns and community case studies Douglas Harper
    3. What do cases do? Some notes on activity in sociological analysis Andrew Abbott
    Part II. Cases Are Objects:
    4. Small Ns and big conclusions: an examination of the reasoning in comparative studies based on a small number of cases Stanley Lieberson
    5. Theory elaboration: the heuristics of case analysis Diane Vaughan
    Part III. Cases Are Made:
    6. Case studies: history or sociology? Michel Wieviorka
    7. Making theoretical cases John Walton
    Part IV. Cases Are Conventions:
    8. Cases on cases … of cases Jennifer Platt
    9. Cases are for identity, for explanation, or for control
    10. Cases, causes, conjunctures, stories and imagery Howard C. White.

  • Editors

    Charles C. Ragin, Northwestern University, Illinois

    Howard Saul Becker, University of Washington


    Charles C. Ragin, Douglas Harper, Andrew Abbott, Stanley Lieberson, Diane Vaughan, Michel Wieviorka, John Walton, Jennifer Platt, Howard C. White

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