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A Matter of Kind or Degree? Using Typologies in Comparative Research

Case
By: Henrik Serup Christensen Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

The Civic Culture by Almond and Verba is often seen as the start to comparative research into political attitudes and their implications for democracy. However, despite several studies following in their footsteps, one of the key lessons has rarely been incorporated since the use of typologies has rarely been used, even though contemporary research ostensibly focuses on different types of citizens. Researchers often disavow grouping people according to theoretical definitions since it is presumably entails a loss of information, but this approach can also provide new insights. Nevertheless, it entails special challenges when it comes to establishing the theoretical classification and empirically verifying the validity. This case study discusses the use of typologies in comparative research by providing examples from research on classifying different kinds of political dissatisfaction. It shows how identifying different types of dissatisfaction can help understand the different interpretations of what the developments in attitudes entail for democracy.

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Confirmatory factor analysis

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