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Mechanism-based theorizing and generalization from case studies
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, IAS. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5237-9695
2019 (English)In: Studies in history and philosophy of science, ISSN 0039-3681, E-ISSN 1879-2510Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Generalization from a case study is a perennial issue in the methodology of the social sciences. The case study is one of the most important research designs in many social scientific fields, but no shared understanding exists of the epistemic import of case studies. This article suggests that the idea of mechanism-based theorizing provides a fruitful basis for understanding how case studies contribute to a general understanding of social phenomena. This approach is illustrated with a reconstruction of Espeland and Sauder's case study of the effects of rankings on US legal education. On the basis of the reconstruction, it is argued that, at least with respect to sociology, the idea of mechanism-based theorizing captures many of the generalizable elements of case studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
mechanism, case study, generalization, rankings
National Category
Sociology Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-156301DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2018.11.009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-156301DiVA, id: diva2:1304284
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, M12-0301:1Available from: 2019-04-12 Created: 2019-04-12 Last updated: 2019-04-12

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Ylikoski, Petri

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