Gerardo L. Munck, "Comparative Politics: Taking Stock and Looking Forward", December 2010

This paper offers meta-reflections on the field of comparative politics, that is, the study of politics around the world through the comparison of different countries. It presents and elaborates a general framework for assessing social scientific knowledge that identifies four main products of research: concepts and conceptual systems, theories and theoretical systems, descriptions, and explanations. It applies this framework to the field of comparative politics and, with regard to each of these four research products, it identifies baseline practices and knowledge, the strengths and weaknesses of research practices and results, and outlines key challenges and opportunities. The importance of articulating ideas drawn from different perspectives, as well as the different aspects of the research process, is highlighted.