Comparative research is a research methodology in the social sciences that aims to make comparisons across different countries or cultures. A major problem in comparative research is that the data sets in different countries may not use the same categories, or define categories differently (for example by using different definitions of poverty).
Comparative research often uses quantitative methods, but qualitative methods are also sometimes used. Comparative research can be conducted within a single country or culture (for example, comparing different regions) or across countries and cultures.
When comparative research is conducted across countries, it is often difficult to find comparable data sets. One way to address this problem is to use secondary data, which is data that has already been collected by other researchers. Another way to address this problem is to use primary data, which is data that is collected specifically for the purpose of the research project.
Comparative research can be used to answer a variety of research questions, such as:
- What are the similarities and differences between cultures?
- What are the similarities and differences between countries in terms of a particular issue or topic?
- What are the causes of similarities and differences between countries?
- What are the consequences of similarities and differences between countries?
Comparative research is a powerful research methodology that can be used to shed light on a variety of issues and problems.