Qualitative research: Recent developments in case study methods

Andrew Bennett, Colin Elman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

342 Scopus citations


This article surveys the extensive new literature that has brought about a renaissance of qualitative methods in political science over the past decade. It reviews this literature's focus on causal mechanisms and its emphasis on process tracing, a key form of within-case analysis, and it discusses the ways in which case-selection criteria in qualitative research differ from those in statistical research. Next, the article assesses how process tracing and typological theorizing help address forms of complexity, such as path dependence and interaction effects. The article then addresses the method of fuzzy-set analysis. The article concludes with a call for greater attention to means of combining alternative methodological approaches in research projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-476
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Political Science
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Fuzzy set
  • Path dependence
  • Process tracing
  • Selection bias
  • Typologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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