Natural Experiments and Pluralism in Political Science

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (4-5):424-441 (2015)
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Natural experiments are an increasingly popular research design in political science. This popularity raises a number of questions. First, what are natural experiments and why are they appealing? Second, what makes a good natural experiment? And finally, are natural experiments able to provide resources for knowledge production that other methodologies cannot or do not provide? Using Mary Morgan’s and Thad Dunning’s recent work on natural experiments, I offer answers to the first two questions and use the analysis to argue that natural experiments highlight features of knowledge production that support methodological pluralism and the multiple aims of research
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A Theory of Evidence for Evidence-Based Policy.Cartwright, Nancy & Stegenga, Jacob

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