komex: Comparative Case Study Design


COVID-19 pandemic: Please note!
As announced the in-person courses will be held on site. Please read carefully the current information about the Corona regulations!

Course Structure
09.00-10.30h: Lecture
10.45-12.15h: Lab / group work
13.30-14.30h: Office hour / independent work (reading, exercises)

This five-day, in-person main course provides you with the skills needed to design your qualitative comparative case study research, based on your own and/or other applied research projects. The course covers the topics of causal complexity, concept formation, casing and case selection, logics and strategies of comparison, accounting for context and time, choosing data collection and analysis strategies, as well as conceptual and research-practical issues when drawing inferences in case-oriented research. Topical sessions include:

  1. Foundations and research questions of case-oriented research
  2. Theories and concepts
  3. Defining and selecting cases
  4. Choosing methods of data collection and analysis
  5. Drawing inferences: good practices and pitfalls

Intended Learning Outcomes
At the end of the week, you will:

  • Be able to find the suitable comparative case study research design to answer your research question
  • Learn common techniques of structuring and defining concepts, defining and selecting cases, thinking about time and context in comparative case study research, and analyzing and comparing cases depending on the inferential goal, and be able to apply them in your own research
  • Be aware of potential pitfalls of comparative case study research, such as limited empirical diversity and conceptual stretching, and ways of addressing them
  • Be familiar with some seminal texts about comparative case study research, covering both classics and recent innovations.


  • 4/5 daily tasks
  • a take-home paper (written research design)

Core Readings
Blatter, J. and M. Haverland (2012). Designing Case Studies: Explanatory Approaches in Small-N Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ragin, C.C. (1987/2014). The comparative method: Moving beyond qualitative and quantitative strategies. Univ of California Press.
Toshkov, D. (2016). Research design in political science. Palgrave Macmillan.

The course does not require specific knowledge. Basic knowledge of empirical social research is assumed, such as what is a case, what is data, what is a variable. Participants should bring their own laptops — sockets will be provided.
Bildungszeit (can be claimed by employees in Baden-Württemberg) 
Anforderungen des Bildungszeitgesetzes Baden-Württemberg sind erfüllt
Course Management 
430 EUR / Early bird 390 EUR
ECTS Credits 
Contact for Questions 
Seminar Room 
D 430
14.03.2022 09:00 to 14:30
15.03.2022 09:00 to 14:30
16.03.2022 09:00 to 14:30
17.03.2022 09:00 to 14:30
18.03.2022 09:00 to 14:30