Paradigms and Sand Castles

Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Politics
Barbara Geddes
Makes a compelling case for the importance of thoughtful research design and persuasive evidence in theory building


Paradigms and Sand Castles demonstrates the relationship between thoughtful research design and the collection of persuasive evidence in support of theory. It teaches the craft of research through interesting and carefully selected examples from the field of comparative development studies.

Barbara Geddes is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Praise / Awards

  • "The quest for cumulative knowledge in comparative politics is Sisyphean in nature. Yet Barbara Geddes is able to push her boulder pretty far up that mountain. As she shows with examples from her own meticulous research designs, comparativists can succeed only by theorizing processes and putting the implications of their theories to test. Those who ignore the sage counsel presented in Paradigms and Sand Castles should prepare themselves for an avalanche of methodological criticism."
    —David D. Laitin, Stanford University
  • "To read this book is to witness a teacher and problem solver at work. Geddes takes inspiration from the literature in comparative politics and develops strategies for evaluating its claims. In doing so, she accompanies students as they transit from being readers and consumers of texts to producers of knowledge. Geddes launches this journey from an engagement with the macrolevel themes that dominate our field and that bring to it the young and the committed; and she equips scholars to render these themes not only subjects of debate but also subjects of inquiry. There is a rich mind and skilled mentor behind this work."
    —Robert H. Bates, Harvard University

Look Inside

Copyright © 2003, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 304 pages.
  • 18 drawings, 47 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02397-4

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