An Applied Guide to Social Science Methodology, Forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
(with Dino Christenson)

Social Science Methodology: A Unified Framework, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
This is a dramatically revised and expanded edition of the 2001 edition. The general framework is the same, but virtually everything else is changed.
On-line resources for readers and instructors using SSM

Concepts and Method in Social Science: The Tradition of Giovanni Sartori
Edited by David Collier and John Gerring, Routledge, 2008.

Careful work with concepts is a cornerstone of good social science methodology. Concepts and Method in Social Science carefully demonstrates the crucial role of concepts, providing a timely contribution that draws both on the classic contributions of Giovanni Sartori and the writing of a younger generation of scholars. In this volume, major writings of Sartori are juxtaposed with other work that exemplifies important approaches to concept analysis. The book is split into three key sections:

  • Part I : Sartori on Concepts and Methods – including an examination of the necessary logical steps in moving from conceptualization to measurement and the relationships among meanings, terms and observations.
  • Part II: Extending the Sartori Tradition – eminent scholars analyse five key ideas in concept analysis: revolution, culture, democracy, peasants and institutionalization within the context of the Sartori tradition.
  • Part III: In the Academy and Beyond – both an engaging autobiographical essay written by Giovanni Sartori and reflections from former students provide a unique context in which to situate this varied and rigorous discussion of concept analysis and qualitative methods.

Concepts and Method in Social Science is an accessible text that is ideally suited to advanced undergraduates and postgraduates, providing a distinct and coherent introduction to comparative political analysis.

Case Study Research: Principles and Practices, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
This book aims to provide a general understanding of the case study method as well as specific tools for its successful implementation. These tools can be utilized in all fields where the case study method is prominent, including business, anthropology, communications, economics, education, medicine, political science, social work, and sociology. Topics include the definition of a ‘case study,’ the strengths and weaknesses of this distinctive method, strategies for choosing cases, an experimental template for understanding research design, and the role of singular observations in case study research. It is argued that a diversity of approaches – experimental, observational, qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic – may be successfully integrated into case study research. This book breaks down traditional boundaries between qualitative and quantitative, experimental and nonexperimental, positivist and interpretivist.


Draft of 2d. ed. (to be published in 2016, if all goes well).

Social Science Methodology: A Criterial Framework, Cambridge University Press, 2001
A one-volume introduction to social science methodology, relevant to the disciplines of anthropology, economics, history, political science, and sociology. Written for students and practitioners, as well as methodologists, it provides a structure for organizing quantitative and qualitative research. While offering an overview of this vast and diverse subject, the book presents an argument about how we should conceptualize methodological problems. Tasks and criteria, the author argues – not fixed rules or procedures – best describe the search for methodological adequacy. Thinking about methodology through this lens provides a new framework for understanding and conducting research in the social sciences.




Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Methods Applied to the Study of Governance in the Developing World
September 29, 2007, Harvard University


“The Relevance of Relevance”
B. Guy Peters, Jon Pierre, Gerry Stoker (eds), The Relevance of Political Science (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Chapter 2.

“Mere Description”
British Journal of Political Science 42:4 (October 2012)

“Quantitative and Qualitative: A Question of Comparability”
Bertrand Badie, Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Leonardo Morlino (eds), International Encyclopedia of Political Science (Sage, 2011) (with Craig W. Thomas).
“Quantitative and Qualitative: A Question of Comparability”
(extended version)

Symposium: Perfecting Methodology or Methodological Perfectionism?
Qualitative and Multi-Method Research: Newsletter of the American Political Science Association Organized Section on Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (Spring 2011) 8-33 (with Jason Seawright; Adam Glynn; Andrew Bennett).

“How Good Is Good Enough? A Multidimensional, Best-Possible Standard for Research Design”
Political Research Quarterly 64:3 (September 2011) 625-36

“Causal Mechanisms: Yes, But…”
Comparative Political Studies 43:11 (November 2010) 1499-1526.
“Causal Mechanisms: Yes, But…”(extended version)

Symposium: Case Studies, Case Selection, and Causal Inference,
Qualitative and Multi-Method Research: Newsletter of the American Political Science Association Organized Section on Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (Fall 2008) 2-16 (with David Collier, James Fearon, David Freedman, Gary Goertz, and David Laitin).

“Case-Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options” 
Political Research Quarterly 61:2 (June 2008) 294-308 (with Jason Seawright) (published version).
“Case-Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options” 
(with Jason Seawright) (extended version)

“The Mechanismic Worldview: Thinking Inside the Box”
British Journal of Political Science 37 (2007) 1-19.

“An Experimental Template for Case Study Research”
American Journal of Political Science 51:3 (July 2007), 688-701.

“Is There a (Viable) Crucial-Case Method?”
Comparative Political Studies 40:3 (March 2007) 231-53.

“Single Outcome Studies: A Methodological Primer.”
International Sociology 21:5 (September 2006) 707-734.

“A Normative Turn in Political Science?”
Polity 38:1 (January 2006) 101-33 (with Joshua Yesnowitz).

“Causation: A Unified Framework for the Social Sciences”
Journal of Theoretical Politics 17:2 (April 2005) 163-98.

“What is a Case Study and What is it Good For?”
American Political Science Review 98:2 (May 2004) 341-54.

“Putting Ordinary Language to Work: A Min-Max Strategy of Concept Formation in the Social Sciences”
Journal of Theoretical Politics 15:2 (April 2003) 201-32 (with Paul A. Barresi).
“Putting Ordinary Language to Work: A Min-Max Strategy of Concept Formation in the Social Sciences”(extended version)

“Interpretations of Interpretism”
Qualitative Methods (Fall 2003) 2-6.

“What Makes a Concept Good?: An Integrated Framework for Understanding Concept Formation in the Social Sciences”
Polity 31:3 (Spring 1999) 357-93.

“Ideology: A Definitional Analysis”
Political Research Quarterly 50:4 (December 1997) 957-94.

Unpublished Papers

“Strategies of Research Design with Confounding: A Graphical Description”
(with Adam N. Glynn)

“Case Selection: A Diversity of Methods and Criteria”
(with Lee Cojocaru)

“An Ordinal, Concept-driven Approach to Measurement: The Lexical Scale”
(with Daniel Pemstein and Svend-Erik Skaaning)

“The Inference in Causal Inference: A Psychology for Social Science Metholodology”
(with Jason Seawright and Alejandro Avenburg)