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Where the Model Frequently Meets the Road: Combining Statistical, Formal, and Case Study Methods

by   Andrew Bennett, et al.

This paper analyzes the working or default assumptions researchers in the formal, statistical, and case study traditions typically hold regarding the sources of unexplained variance, the meaning of outliers, parameter values, human motivation, functional forms, time, and external validity. We argue that these working assumptions are often not essential to each method, and that these assumptions can be relaxed in ways that allow multimethod work to proceed. We then analyze the comparative advantages of different combinations of formal, statistical, and case study methods for various theory-building and theory-testing research objectives. We illustrate these advantages and offer methodological advice on how to combine different methods, through analysis and critique of prominent examples of multimethod research.


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