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Ethan Klinck45-130January 11, 2017Comparative PoliticsDr. Elena MaltsevaChapter 2:Theories, Hypotheses, and EvidenceTheory General explanations for empirical phenomena•Theories generally have some support for its arguments in the real world–More than just a guess about what will happen•In comparative politics, theories are explanations for why things happen as they do–Emphasis on cause and effect–Broad generalizations about relationships between different aspect of society•Explanations for why things happen the way they doHypothesis –A specific prediction that can be tested against empirical evidence–Specific hypotheses are often derived from a theory–In comparative politics, hypotheses are often about a certain case or set of cases–If the hypothesis stands, it becomes a thesis •Broader the better (more convincing)•Formulating hypotheses is developing possible answers to a research question•Often a deductiveprocess:–Move from general theories to specific observations or predictions about a set of cases–We can often learn from “deviant cases” that do not fit the pattern predicted by a given theory•Testing hypothesis can lead to a thesis–Argument backed by evidence–A thesis can then help us contribute to building theory (inductive process)•Deductive will be used more often than not How Theories Emerge and Are Used•Theories generate testable hypotheses•Evidence for theories comes from hypothesis tests•Counter-arguments emerge–Alternative theories to explain the same observed facts–Evidence can contradict a theory•“Exceptions to the rules” exist for most social theories•Different theories compete and coexist•Theories may “die” when replaced by better ones–Ex.: earth-centered vs. sun-centered solar systemTypes of Evidence–Note: discussion of evidence in chapter 1•Qualitative –Analysis based on facts in narrative form•Ex.: historical accounts and historical records•Ex.: constitutions, laws, personal narratives, etc. •Quantitative
Ethan Klinck45-130January 11, 2017Comparative PoliticsDr. Elena Maltseva–Analysis using mathematical examination •Typically involve a many cases or observations•Both types of evidence can be used for inferenceCorrelation and Causation–Distinction between correlation and causation•Correlation–Relationship between two variables in which they tend to move in predictable relationship to one another •Doesn’t always need caustion–Can be in same direction (positive correlation) •Ex.: wealth and democracy in countries–Can be in opposite directions (negative correlation)•Ex.: amount of absolute poverty and democracy in countries•Causation –Relationship in which one thing causes another–In comparative politics, we try to understand causation between variables–When we have caustion, there is also a correlation•