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Political Science 30: Political Inquiry. Qualitative Research Design II. Selecting on the Dependent Variable Mills’ Method of Agreement Mills’ Method of Difference Examples Clem Miller Dreze and Sen. Selecting on the Dependent Variable.

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qualitative research design ii
Qualitative Research Design II
  • Selecting on the Dependent Variable
    • Mills’ Method of Agreement
    • Mills’ Method of Difference
  • Examples
    • Clem Miller
    • Dreze and Sen
selecting on the dependent variable
Selecting on the Dependent Variable
  • Selecting cases according to the value of the dependent variable that they take on is more controversial than selecting on the independent variable.
    • It allows you to look at extreme values or divergent cases.
    • “However, if this design is to lead to meaningful … causal inferences, it is crucial to select observations without regard to values of the explanatory variables. K.K.V.”
selecting on the dependent variable method of agreement
Selecting on the Dependent Variable: Method of Agreement
  • When you use Mills’ Method of Agreement, you select cases that take on the same values of the dependent variable.
    • This helps you to rule out possible causes, because independent variables that vary over these cases can’t cause the dependent var.
    • This method can only disprove a hypothesis, because it can’t find a correlation.
selecting on the dependent variable method of agreement5
Selecting on the Dependent Variable: Method of Agreement

This design could help us rule out “early industrialization” as a cause of whether a country has a viable socialist party.

selecting on the dependent variable method of difference
Selecting on the Dependent Variable: Method of Difference
  • When you use Mills’ Method of Difference, you select cases that take on different values of the dependent variable.
    • After you have selected your cases, you determine what values they take on for some independent variables.
    • Perhaps one independent variable will vary across your cases, and explain the D.V.
selecting on the dependent variable method of difference7
Selecting on the Dependent Variable: Method of Difference

Adding a country that has no viable socialist party can add causal leverage to our early investigation.

example clem miller
Example: Clem Miller
  • This Congressman writing home to his supporters tells the story of two different lobbying efforts on behalf of farmers.
    • Let’s assume that his process of case selection came in the same order that his narrative is written.
    • If so, he selected on independent variables and used the “Most Similar Systems” design.
example dreze and sen
Example: Dreze and Sen
  • Both countries began a new political regime at mid-century with large populations and little wealth.
    • They have diverged since then: “There is little doubt that as far a morbidity, mortality, and longevity are concerned, China has a large and decisive lead over India. (p. 205)”
    • “What has brought about that lead is a matter of very considerable interest. (p. 206)”
comparing many research methods measurement validity
Comparing Many Research Methods: Measurement Validity
  • Measurement validity judges the gap between your conceptual definition and your operational definition.
    • Qualitative – Highest measurement validity
    • The measurement validity of other research methods (Lab experiments, quasi/natural experiments, and quantitative research) really depends on what you are trying to measure.
comparing many research methods internal validity
Comparing Many Research Methods: Internal Validity
  • Internal validity judges how well a research design has tested a causal relationship, in the cases examined. Random assignment is the key.
    • Lab Experiments – highest
    • Quasi/Natural experiments – medium
    • Qualitative research – medium
    • Quantitative research – lowest
comparing many research methods external validity
Comparing Many Research Methods: External Validity
  • External validity is how confident we can be that a causal relationship identified in our cases can be generalized to the outside world. Random sampling is key
    • Quantitative research – highest
    • Quasi/Natural experiments – medium
    • Lab experiments – low
    • Qualitative research – low
comparing many research methods overall lessons
Comparing Many Research Methods: Overall Lessons
  • The best research design depends on your research question and the particular problems that it poses.
  • The best research uses a mixture of methods to test a hypothesis.