Case Studies and Analytic Transparency in Causal-Oriented Mixed-Methods Research
by Jeb Barnes, University of Southern California and Nicholas Weller, University of California, Riverside
We discuss analytic transparency in the context of mixed-method research and make two related contributions. First, we translate the general call for analytic transparency into a series of three questions that can frame the discussion of the analytic role of process tracing case studies in a mixed-method research agenda. They are: 1. What is the causal relationship being explored?; 2. What is the intended analytic contribution(s) of each method?; 3. What is the empirical contribution of each method?
Second, we consider the value-added of small-N methods based on their purported contribution to the larger research project and how they combine with the large-N results. Case studies promise very different contributions to research depending on whether a scholar situates their work in the context of triangulation-based research or integration-based research, and we discuss how the contribution of small-N methods depends on which approach a scholar is utilizing in their research. Taken together, these two aspects help clarify analytic transparency without imposing a single perspective on all scholarship.