Best C&M Working Paper Award

The Committee on Concepts and Methods publishes two highly regarded series of working papers. Every third year, the Committee distinguishes the best paper published in either of its two series during the three preceding calendar years.

C&M Best Working Paper Award 2014

The winner of the IPSA Committee on Concepts and Methods (C&M) Best Working Paper Award for 2014 is Peter Stone (Trinity College, Dublin) for his paper "The Concept of Picking" (Political Concepts 50, May 2011).

 Award Citation:

In this paper Stone seeks to defend as rational the idea that agents sometimes simply pick among options in the absence of reasons to justify that selection. In instances where the standard ‘filters’ of rational decision making (first identify the feasible set, then choose the best option in that set) leave the agent with either no option or several, she may be justified in picking. Stone traces the genealogy of this idea, defends it against several skeptical alternative views, and in the process specifies the conditions under which it holds. In so doing he not only contributes to the task of delineating the concept of rational action, but offers a rich assessment of picking as a distinctive enterprise.

2014 Award Jury:

James Johnson, University of Rochester (chair)
Beth Leech, Rutgers University
Zachary Elkins, University of Texas – Austin

C&M Best Working Paper Award 2011

The first C&M Best Working Paper Award was awarded to David Kuehn (University of Heidelberg) and Ingo Rohlfing (University of Cologne) for "Causal Explanation and Multi-Method Research in the Social Sciences" (Political Methods 26, February 2010).

 Award Citation:

Multimethod research is one of the major new research agendas and methodologies of the last 10 years. One signal of this is the change in name of the APSA qualitative methods section to "Qualitative and Multimethod." Critical to this new methodology is combining qualitative methods, typically case studies with quantitative and statistical methods. "Causal Explanation and Multi-Method Research in the Social Sciences" explores an absolutely central aspect of this methodology: the relationship between cross-case statistical analyses with within-case qualitative analyses.  The paper insightfully discusses how the probabilistic nature of statistical analyses can be merged with process tracing and causal inference within-cases, which often have a deterministic character. Kuehn and Rohlfing argue that multimethod research is quite problematic when the causal relationship is probabilistic. The committee feels that this paper is one of the first to directly address this key issue head on, and believes it will become core reading in the multimethod literature.

2011 Award Jury:

Gary Goertz, University of Arizona (chair)
Daniela Piana, University of Bologna
Markus Haverland, Erasmus University Rotterdam