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Macrocomparative Research Methods


Bollen, Kenneth A.; Entwisle, Barbara; & Alderson, Arthur S. (1993). Macrocomparative Research Methods. Annual Review of Sociology, 19, 321-351.


Macrocomparative research has a broad reach within the discipline. We review recent books and articles engaging in comparison, either of nations or of structures and processes within two or more nations. We focus on how macrocomparative sociologists address the threats to validity which surround sample selection, research design, and data and measurement. Nearly all the studies we investigate have explanation as a goal. A major threat to many studies (almost a third) is the failure to apply any method of control. Most authors wish to draw general conclusions, but problems of sampling raise questions about their ability to do so. Researchers agree that measurement is problematic. However, issues surrounding measurement are largely neglected. We describe these and more specific empirical findings regarding the practice of macrocomparative research.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Annual Review of Sociology


Bollen, Kenneth A.
Entwisle, Barbara
Alderson, Arthur S.