Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences.
By Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.
331p. $50.00 cloth, $20.00 paper.
In recent years, there has been a surge in work on what has come to be
known as “qualitative methods.” The trend is essentially
reactive, developing as a response to the outpouring of work on
quantitative and formal methods and the assertions by scholars in those
areas that case studies and historical work are impressionistic,
unscientific, and noncumulative. To counter such claims, some of the
field's most distinguished qualitative scholars (e.g., Stephan Van
Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science, 1997;
James Mahoney and Dietrich Rueschemeyer, eds., Historical Analysis in
the Social Sciences, 2003; and Marc Trachtenberg, The Craft of
International History, 2006) have spent much time and ink to show
that researchers who eschew regressions or game theory can be just as
methodologically aware and sophisticated as those who embrace them.
Alexander George and Andrew Bennett's Case Studies and Theory
Development in the Social Sciences is an impressive and welcome
addition to this literature.