Comparative Cross-National Case Study Research: The “Stuff” Research Methods Books Don’t Tell You


Cross-national and multi-language research is likely to become more popular, with the increasingly international agenda many Higher Education institutions are focusing on. However, methodological considerations given to this has been scarce, both in research methodology literature and research methods training in Higher Education. This case presents the methodological journey I took during my PhD research, which consisted of comparative cross-national case studies involving three countries, three languages, and six cases. The paper draws together methodological considerations on issues arising from conducting comparative cross-national research (especially via multiple case studies) including—but not limited to—language issues. The case highlights that more consideration needs to be given to the issues discussed, and the learning points provided in the case can be used as guidance for issues that are likely to arise and how they can be overcome. This case concludes that five key issues need to be considered carefully when thinking of doing cross-national research: having enough funds, being flexible with time, having contacts or being able to get them, knowing the country and its systems really well, and knowing the appropriate terminology used in the country.

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