Ch. 1, Introduction (2-29)
Ch. 2, States (30-61)

Preliminary Business

Chapter 1

Institutions in Action (27)

  1. What are the key differences between micro- and macro-level approaches to political science, as described earlier? 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. What makes superforecasters better than others in predicting world events?

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? Is it advisable? Explain your answers.
  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.

Chapter 2

Discussion Questions

3-2-1 Exercise

Chapter Analysis

  1. How does this chapter contribute to our understanding of comparative politics?
  2. How does this chapter help us make sense of what goes on in "the real world"?
  3. How might we best address relevant issues or problems raised in/by this chapter?
  4. Create a discussion question that addresses some material from this chapter.

Critical Thinking

  1. Cite and explain an important thing you learned from this chapter.
  2. Why do you consider this particular thing important? Be specific.
  3. Apply something you learned from this chapter to your daily life.
  4. What questions did this chapter raise or leave unanswered for you?

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