Ch. 1, Introduction (2-29)


Institutions in Action (25)

  1. What are the key differences between micro- and macro-level approaches to political science, as described above? Do you think one is more effective than the other? Why?
  2. Consider a recent world event from the news this past week. How would researchers apply micro- and macro-level approaches to explain this event? What questions would they ask?
  3. Do you think the Good Judgement Project will help our understanding of political events? Why or why not?

Discussion Questions

  1. Which of the (seven) problems in comparative research do you consider most challenging or problematic? Why? Given your answer, what change(s) could be made to improve comparative research?
  2. Would it be good if we had a "grand theory" to guide our study of comparative politics? Why or why not?
  3. Which of the research method(s) and theoretical perspective(s) discussed in this chapter make the most sense to you, and why?
  4. Is a workable, mixed-method approach to comparative research possible? How so, or why not?
  5. Should the purpose of studying comparative politics be to expand our knowledge of the world, to help us be better citizens, or both? What would be your response to someone who answered this question differently from you?
  6. Does O'Neil's approach to studying comparative politics—using a "guiding concept" and a "guiding ideal"—make good sense to you? Explain your answer.
  7. Which is more important: individual freedom or collective equality? Support your position based on your personal values and experiences.
  8. Broadly speaking, do you believe we can "make a science of politics"? Should we? Explain your answers.
  9. Articulate some conceptual links between key terms listed on page 28.