Chapter 12 Historical-Comparative Research


Define: primary sources 312-3, archive 312-3, secondary sources (314), running records 314, recollections 314, oral history 314, external criticism 316, internal criticism 316, Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) 320, back translation 323


1. Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber are today generally considered the intellectual founders of sociology. Which of them used historical or comparative research techniques? 305


2. Does historical-comparative research tend more toward addressing macro issues or more toward micro issues? 305


3. How is historical-comparative research similar to field work? 308


4. Why would comparative research often involve learning a foreign language?  311


5. The text says that, in the process of synthesizing evidence in historical-comparative research, “models [metaphors] are sensitizing devices.” What does this mean? [Figure it out.] 312


6. T F More than in quantitative approaches, the careful crafting of evidence and explanation makes or breaks historical/comparative research.


7. Which kind of evidence do historians prefer to use? 312


8. The Polish Peasant in America, by Thomas and Znaniecki, was based on letters immigrants to America wrote back home to Poland. What kind of evidence or data would such letters be? 312-4


9. When writing about Medieval times, sociologists often rely on the work of historian Marc Bloch. What kind of data or evidence would Bloch’s books be? 314


10. Give me a concrete example of some running records (other than the textbook’s example of a church’s record of all the marriages and deaths involving the church, though you should be familiar with that example, too). 314


11. Oral history is a specific form of what kind of evidence or data (other than primary data)? 314


12. List three of the potential problems the text mentions in its rant on using secondary data. 314-5


13. T F The focus of comparative research is on similarities and differences between units. 317


14. T F One of the strengths of historical-comparative research is that it facilitates rigorous theory testing. 318


15. T F One of the strengths of historical-comparative research is that it facilitates the use of experiments. 318


16. What is the Human Relations Area Files database useful for? 320


17. T F Long experience in sociology suggests that comparative survey research is not practical. 321ff (Despite the chapter's emphasis on limitations and difficulties, the answer is F)