Types of Hypotheses

Hypothesis Testing

Case Study

  • Focuses intensely on one case
  • Sometimes used to explore potential explanations
    • Focus on atypical cases
  • Also used to explore descriptive hypotheses
    • Focus on typical cases

Paired Comparison

  • Used as basic test of causal argument

  • Two cases similar in most respects except for outcome

  • Typically cases within same geographic region

Most Similar Systems

Examines cases that are similar in all or most respects to understand outcome that differs between them

Most Different Systems

Examine cases that are different in all or most respects to understand a common outcome

Quantitative Analysis

Employs statistical correlations to demonstrate relationships between IVs & DVs

Less about…

Deterministic if-then statements
More about…
Probabilistic statements regarding likelihood

Types of Correlation


Division of Labor

  • Qualitative Studies
    • Good for generating hypotheses and positing mechanisms
    • Bad for testing generalizability
  • Quantitative Studies
    • Good for testing generalizability
    • Bad for helping to develop hypotheses or getting at “on the ground” reality