Ingo Rohlfing is Professor for Political Science, Qualitative Methods at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) and holds a PhD in Political Science. Substantively, he is doing research on party competition and party organizations. Methodologically, he is working on the case study method, process tracing, QCA and multi-method research. He has published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Sociological Methods & Research and West European Politics and has published the monograph Case Studies and Causal Inference with Palgrave Macmillan.
Personal webpage: http://ingorohlfing.wordpress.com
Note from the Academic Convenors to prospective participants: by registering to this course, you certify that you possess the prerequisite knowledge that is requested to be able to follow this course. The instructor will not teach again these prerequisite items. If you doubt whether you possess that knowledge to a sufficient extent, we suggest you contact the instructor before you proceed to your registration.
Basic knowledge about research design is helpful, but not required. Introductory textbooks about qualitative and small-n research that can be consulted for preparation are:
Yin, Robert K. (2008): Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Lange, Matthew (2012): Comparative-Historical Methods. SAGE: Los Angeles.
Short course outline
This course approaches qualitative case studies from the perspective of method and practice. The goal is to understand the advantages and challenges of the case study method and to detail the tasks involved in all stages of the research process. The course has three interrelated components (see day-to-day schedule). First, the lecture/seminar segments introduce a specific topic on a basic and advanced level. Second, “lab sessions” give the participants the opportunity to apply the new insights to their own project; this is achieved by discussions about the participants’ projects in small groups and among the entire class. Third, the assignment portion involves in-class discussions of short assignments (simple methodological questions) related to the participants studies and published case studies from different fields within political science. This helps developing an idea about how case studies are presented and done in empirical research. At the end of the course, participants will be able to implement sound case studies and to critically evaluate published research.
NOTE: The course is about case studies as a tool for the generation of causal inferences. The course is not about case studies in the hermeneutic, interpretive, etc. tradition eschewing causal terminology and does not discuss actual data collection in much detail, e.g. issues related to the preparation of interviews or archival research.