The Small N Methodological Challenges of Analyzing Regional Integration

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Document Type



Gaspare M. Genna & Philippe De Lombaerde (2010) The Small N Methodological Challenges of Analyzing Regional Integration, Journal of European Integration, 32:6, 583-595, DOI: 10.1080/07036337.2010.518717


As the number of regional integration organizations increases, the attention to case selection in small‐N qualitative analysis becomes more necessary in order to avoid selection biases that could produce results with doubtful generalizations. This paper addresses the problem of selecting cases and offers solutions to potential pitfalls in research. First we examine various research designs in qualitative methods and discuss the problems of selecting observations on the dependent variable. We next discuss the operational definition of regions. In order to select from a population of observations, it is important to understand what is and what is not included. Finally, a few implications are presented for the EU studies community.