Dr Jason Seawright is Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. He is the author of three books, Party-System Collapse: The Roots of Crisis in Peru and Venezuela (Stanford, 2012) Multi-Method Social Science: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools (Cambridge, 2016), and Billionaires and Stealth Politics with Benjamin Page and Matthew Lacombe (Chicago, 2018). He has also published in Political Analysis, Sociological Methods and Research, the American Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, and Comparative Political Studies, among other journals and edited volumes. His research interests include causal inference, mixed-methods research designs, political parties and party systems, populism, and political representation.
Can combinations of different methods improve causal inference and related social-science tasks (theory-building, concept formation, description and measurement)? This course will explore mixed-method research designs that strengthen projects relying on many different methodological traditions: various kinds of qualitative research, regression-type statistical studies, experiments, and a range of machine-learning options. We will consider methodological arguments about efficient and less efficient approaches to mixed-method research for each of these combinations, including optimal case selection, assumptions, and other design considerations that maximize the synergy across methods.
Familiarity with mixed-method research can be useful at the beginning of a scholar’s research trajectory because it can frame design choices and motivate further methodological learning. Alternatively, this course can be valuable at later stages in a career or a given project; mixed-method designs can be added as robustness checks or extensions to existing research, for example. Previous students in this course have published books and articles applying the design ideas we discuss in a wide range of issue areas and across disciplines.
Students should be familiar with core ideas of methodology (such as IVs, DVs, control variables, causal inference, case studies) before taking this course. They should probably have an introductory familiarity with regression analysis and social science statistics, as well.
Representative Background Reading
Lieberman, Evan S. 2005. Nested analysis as a mixed-method strategy for comparative research. American Political Science Review 99 (3): 435-52.
Seawright, Jason. Multi-Method Social Science: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools(Cambridge, 2016). ISBN: 978-1107483736. This text will be provided as part of the course material provided by the Summer School.
Background knowledge required
OLS = moderate
R = elementary
This schedule is subject to changes (minor or major) depending on how long each topic
actually takes us to cover, as well as on the needs of the class.
Monday: Multi-Method Causal Inference. Seawright 2016: Chapters 1, 2, and Appendix.
Tuesday: Quantitative Methods and Causal Inference). Luke Keele, Randolph T. Stephen-
son, and Felix Elwert. Forthcoming. “The causal interpretation of estimated associations
in regression models.” Political Science Research and Methods. Jason Seawright. 2019.
“Statistical analysis of democratization: a constructive critique.” Democratization 26 (1):
Wednesday: Qualitative Methods and Causal Inference. Bennett and Checkel 2015:
Chapter 1 and Appendix.
Thursday: Combining Case Studies and Regression I. Seawright 2016: Chapter 3. Beatriz
Magaloni, Alberto Diaz-Cayeros, and Alexander Ruiz Euler. 2019. “Public Good Provision
and Traditional Governance in Indigenous Communities in Oaxaca, Mexico.” Comparative
Political Studies 52 (12): 1841-80. Goetz, Gary. 2016. “Multimethod Research.” Security
Friday: Combining Case Studies and Regression II. Seawright 2016: Chapter 4. Her-
ron, Michael C., Kevin M. Quinn. “A Careful Look at Modern Qualitative Case Selection
Methods.” Sociological Methods & Research (2016). 2018 Symposium in QMMR: Qualita-
tive and Multi-Method Research, \Rethinking Comparisons,” at (https: // www. maxwell.
syr. edu/ uploadedFiles/ moynihan/ cqrm/ qmmr_ files/ QMMR16_ 1. pdf )
Monday: Combining Case Studies and Matching. Seawright 2016: Chapter 5. Richard
A. Nielsen. “Case Selection via Matching.” Sociological Methods & Research (2016).
Tuesday: Combining Case Studies and Natural Experiments. Seawright 2016: Chapter
6. Bennett and Checkel 2015: Chapter 8.
Wednesday: Combining Case Studies and Laboratory/Field Experiments. Seawright
2016: Chapter 7. Elizabeth Levy Paluck. 2010. “The Promising Integration of Qualitative
Methods and Field Experiments.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and
Social Science 628 (March): 59-71. Seawright and Koivu, “Causal Inference with Random-
ization.” Working paper.
Thursday: Building Quantitative Components in Case Studies. Seawright 2016: Chapter
8. Dafoe, Caughey, and Seawright. 2017. “Global Tests of Complex Hypotheses: A Non-
parametric Framework for Testing Elaborate Theories.” Journal of Politics. Kapiszewski,
Maclean, and Read 2015: Chapters 8 and 9.
Friday: Multi-Method Designs and Machine Learning. Grimmer 2015: “We Are All
Social Scientists Now: How Big Data, Machine Learning, and Causal Inference Work
Together.” PS (Jan.): 80-83. Grimmer, Messing, and Westwood 2017 (https: // www.
cambridge. org/ core/ journals/ political-analysis/ article/ estimating-heterogeneous-treatment-effects-and-the-effects-of-heterogeneous-treatments-with-ensemble-methods/
C7E3EA00D0AD83429CBE73F4F0C6652C ). Hindman 2015 (http: // journals. sagepub. com/
doi/ abs/ 10. 1177/ 0002716215570279 ) Seawright and Koivu, \Multi-Method Concept For-
mation, Measurement, and Theory-Building.” Working paper.
Bennett, Andrew & Jeffrey T. Checkel. 2015. Process Tracing: From Philosophical Roots to Best Prac-
tices. In Process Tracing: From Metaphor to Analytic Tool, ed. Andrew Bennett & Jeffrey T. Checkel.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Herron, Michael C. & Kevin M. Quinn. 2016. “A Careful Look at Modern Case Selection Methods.” Socio-
logical Methods and Research 45(3):458-92.
Kapiszewski, Diana, Lauren M. MacLean & Benjamin L. Read. 2015. Field Research in Political Science:
Practices and Principles. Cambridge University Press.
Levy Paluck, Elizabeth. 2010. “The Promising Integration of Qualitative Methods and Field Experiments.”
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 628:59-71.
Nielsen, Richard A. 2016. “Case Selection via Matching.” Sociological Methods and Research 45(3):569-97.
Seawright, Jason. 2016. Multi-Method Social Science: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.