Evidence for Use: Causal Pluralism and the Role of Case Studies in Political Science Research

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (1):26-49 (2011)
Most contemporary political science researchers are advocates of multimethod research, however, the value and proper role of qualitative methodologies, like case study analysis, is disputed. A pluralistic philosophy of science can shed light on this debate. Methodological pluralism is indeed valuable, but does not entail causal pluralism. Pluralism about the goals of science is relevant to the debate and suggests a focus on the difference between evidence for warrant and evidence for use. I propose that case study research provides evidence for use through providing information that bears on the applicability of causal generalizations and risk assessment
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