Microcredential komex: Comparative Case Study Design


A solid foundation in comparative case studies is essential for social scientists. This 5-day in-person course teaches you the skills to design your qualitative comparative case study research. Please also watch the CCSD teaser.

What Is This Course About?
This five-day in-person 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. Please also watch the CCSD content teaser. Teaching sessions include:

  1. Foundations and research questions in 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.

Learning Goals
After this course you will:

  • Be able to find a 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.

Assignments for the Course
4 ECTS are granted upon completion of preparations before the course (readings and pre-course exercise), active participation during the course week, and two kinds of assignments: a) 4 out of 5 daily assignments and b) a written take-home paper (research design of own project) of 4000-5000 words.


  •     09:00-10:30h: Course
  •     10:30-11:00h: Break
  •     11:00-12:30h: Course
  •     12:30-13:30h: Lunch break
  •     13:30-14:30h: Course

Recommended Readings for the Course

  • Beach, D., & Pedersen, R. B. (2016). Causal case study methods: Foundations and guidelines for comparing, matching, and tracing. University of Michigan Press.
  • Goertz, G. (2020). Social Science Concepts and Measurement. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
  • Mahoney, J. (2021). The Logic of Social Science. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
  • Thomann, E. (2019). Customized implementation of European Union food safety policy: United in diversity? Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, International Series on Public Policy.

Who Are Your Instructors?
Eva Thomann is a full professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz who specializes in case-oriented and set-theoretic research design and methodology, which she teaches at international method schools. She co-authored the textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) Using R: A Beginner’s Guide (2021, Cambridge University Press, with Carsten Q. Schneider and Ioana-Elena Oana), and Designing Research with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA): Approaches, Challenges, Tools (2020, Sociological Methods & Research, with Martino Maggetti). Eva Thomann is a board member of the COMPArative Methods for Systematic cross-caSe analysis (COMPASSS) and a founding member of the Methods Excellence Network (MethodsNet).
X: @evathomann

Triin Lauri is an associate professor of public policy at Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society where she teaches courses of comparative welfare and education policy and comparative research design and (Qualitative Comparative Analysis) QCA. Triin’s research has mainly focused on the comparative education policy and educational inequality but involves also comparative welfare state, its politics, policies, challenges, and governance. See Triin’s list of recent publications here: https://www.etis.ee/CV/Triin_Lauri/eng

Bildungszeit (can be claimed by employees in Baden-Württemberg) 
Anforderungen des Bildungszeitgesetzes Baden-Württemberg sind erfüllt
460 EUR / Early bird 390 EUR / Please note: you will gain access to our learning management system Moodle only after having paid your course fee
ECTS Credits 
Contact for Questions 
26.02.2024 (All day)
27.02.2024 (All day)
28.02.2024 (All day)
29.02.2024 (All day)
01.03.2024 (All day)
5 study days
No prior knowledge is required other than basic knowledge of empirical research design, such as what is a case, what is a variable. While not a requirement, students will benefit most from this course if they bring their own research in progress to work on.