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40 Comp. Pol. Stud. 5 (2007)

handle is hein.journals/compls40 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Debating           the    Direction          of           101 10010414006294815
Comparative Politics

An   Analysis of Leading Journals

Gerardo   L. Munck
University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Richard   Snyder
Brown  University, Providence, Rhode  Island

   This article contributes to ongoing debates about the direction of compara-
   tive politics through an analysis of new data on the scope, objectives, and
   methods of research in the field. The results of the analysis are as follows.
   Comparative politics is a rich and diverse field that cannot be accurately char-
   acterized on the basis of just one dimension or even summarized in simple
   terms. In turn, the tendency to frame choices about the direction of the field
   in terms of a stark alternative between an old area studies approach and a new
   economic approach relies on largely unsupported assumptions. It is therefore
   advisable to focus on problematic methodological practices that, as this study
   shows, are widespread in comparative research and thus pose serious imped-
   iments to the production of knowledge.

   Keywords:   comparative politics; paradigm; scope; methods; area studies;
   rational choice

S   ince the late 1980s, scholars of comparative politics based in the United
    States have debated  many  fundamental   issues concerning three broad
dimensions  of the research process: the scope and objectives of research, the
methods  of theory generation, and the methods of empirical analysis. In these
discussions, conventional research practices and proposed alternatives have

Authors' Note: We thank David Laitin for suggesting that we write this article and for orga-
nizing a panel with the editors of Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, and
World Politics at the 2005 APSA Annual Convention in Washington, DC. We are grateful to
Angela Hawken for her advice on the construction of the data set and the analysis of the data
and to Matthew Lieber for his assistance with data collection. In addition, we appreciate
comments from Yitzhak Brudny, James Caporaso, John Londregan, Sebastian Mazzuca, David
Samuels, Saika Uno, and three anonymous reviewers.


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