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Comparative Research Designs: Building and Implementing your Comparative Project from A to Z (RSS1.06) - Confirmed

This one-week summer course is designed to enable you to build, consolidate and implement the comparative research design (CRD) that best meets your needs -- ‘comparative’ being defined as: comprising at least two ‘cases’ or units of analysis. 




    The application deadline has passed, applying is no longer possible

    This hands-on, interactive one-week course enables you to develop, consolidate and implement the comparative research design that best meets your needs, from the early stages to its completion: thinking comparatively (‘why compare’?), casing (‘what are my cases?’), case selection strategies (‘which cases and how many?’), data collection strategies and methods, data management and data analysis (qualitative, comparative and quantitative options).

    • On day 1, the course first addresses important upstream issues on ‘why compare’, i.e. what is/are the added value(s) of comparison? We will also locate CRDs vis-à-vis other research designs and will provide a bird’s eye view of all major arbitrations to be made. 
    • On day 2, we’ll turn to ‘step 1’ operations such as the formulation of the research question(s) and hypotheses (if applicable), the adequate use of concepts, the number of cases one will be able to manage, and core arbitrations such as within-system or cross-system case selection. 
    • On Day 3, we will unpack the crucial operation of ‘casing’ (‘what is a case?’), which raises core issues such as depth v/s breadth, cross-case diversity and comparability of cases. Then we’ll systematically examine all the main options for the core ‘step 2’ set of operations: case selection, starting with basic strategies, from very small N to very large N. 
    • On Day 4, we will turn to more advanced case selection strategies, in particular taking into consideration issues of time/sequence and of multilevel/nested phenomena, i.e. bringing in ‘case complexity’. Then we’ll move on to hands-on ‘tricks of the trade’ for systematically and rigorously collecting and managing comparative data (‘step 3’ and ‘step 4’). 
    • Finally, on Day 5, we’ll examine different ways to engage in comparative data analysis (‘step 5’): qualitative (case-oriented) tools, QCA and other cross-case analysis tools, and quantitative/statistical tools. We’ll also touch upon the potential of mixed- or multi-method comparative designs, with a specific focus on sequencing QCA with single case studies.

    The course is interactive, with an alternation of lecture-based sessions (always open to questions/discussion), short presentations by participants, discussions in sub-groups followed by de-brief in plenary, etc.. 

    The instructor also guarantees at least one 1 to 1 appointment with each participant. The goal is to provide individualised guidance to each and every participant.


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    Starting date

    17 June 2024, 9 am
    Educational method
    Main Language
    17 June 2024, 9 am - 21 June 2024, 5 pm
    Benoît Rihoux
    Unique code


    Type of education
    Entry requirements
    See the requirements in cost and admission
    Study load (ECTS)
    Radboud Summer School

    Total package & social events

    Benoît Rihoux

    Benoît Rihoux

    Benoît Rihoux is full professor in comparative politics at the University of Louvain (UCLouvain), Belgium. He is an international leader in the field of comparative methods and designs, in particular around Configurational Comparative Methods (CCMs) and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). He is the initiator of the COMPASSS global network in the field of CCM and has produced multiple reference publications on QCA, including the most cited textbook on the topic (Rihoux and Ragin 2009). He also publishes on mixed- and multimethod designs and is involved in diverse disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary comparative and cross-case projects involving QCA and mixed method designs; in these projects, he has tackled very different types of cases: micro-level, meso-level and macro-level, across social sciences and health. He has taught QCA, comparative research designs, research design and soft skills for researchers at numerous venues across the globe. He was joint initiator and joint Academic Convenor of the ECPR Methods School from 2006 to 2021 and is joint initiator and current Chair of MethodsNET, as well as joint Academic Coordinator of the Summer School in Social Research Methods (3SRM).

    The application deadline has passed, applying is no longer possible



    • Regular: €1049 (application deadline 13th of May)
    • Student & PhD's: €699 (application deadline 13th of May)

    Includes: your course, short morning and late afternoon courses, coffee and tea during breaks, a warm lunch every day, Official Opening, MethodsNET Café (including some drinks and snacks) Official Closing (with some drinks and snacks) and a 1-year (2024 calendar year) free membership as MethodsNET regular member.

    Excludes: transport, accommodation, social events and other costs. 

    Discounts and Scholarships


    Level of participant: 

    • Master
    • PhD
    • Postdoc
    • Professional

    Admission requirements: 

    This PhD level course is open to all advanced students, researchers and practitioners aiming at bringing their research to the next level. It is particularly designed for those engaged in a comparative research project and facing concrete challenges in designing and/or implementing their project. Little specific prior knowledge is required. Any prior training in qualitative and/or quantitative methods is an asset, but by no means a requirement. The participant should simply be willing to reflect openly about his/her research design – one of the take-home messages of the course being: “there is no one-size-fits-all comparative research design”.

    Admission documents: