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Comparative Case Studies

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image of International Negotiation

Case studies embody a deep knowledge of the subject and can be used to test or generate theoretical propositions for explaining negotiated outcomes. Their value is increased when they are employed comparatively, using a number of instances of negotiation – flawed or successful – in the same conflict or problem or a number of negotiations of different conflicts. While it might appear that statistical studies of large numbers of cases would be even more advantageous, these studies tend to lose the feel and understanding that comparative cases can command. Thus, comparative case studies lie at the crossroads of reality and theory; they present their evidence through the eyes of a knowledgeable specialist and they test it against the hypothetical constructs of a creative conceptualist. The challenge is as high as the payoffs.


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