ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

Rationale

One of the major tasks of social science is establishing how things come to be as they are - establishing causal systems in the real world. Although the social world is complex - you can't explain it in terms of single causes with single effects - traditional quantitative approaches based on variable analysis have tended towards such simple explanations.

Sociology has a long tradition of using detailed comparisons across a range of cases. Recently, developments in computer based methods have facilitated an integration of quantitative and qualitative approaches in a way which focuses upon the cases and allows us to address the complexity of social causes.

This project combined training in the use of such approaches with an exploration of the way in which social researchers have thought about these issues in the past and can develop new strategies in the future based on case centred methods.