Most Similar System Design

Hi there! 

Today you will familiarize yourself with Most Similar System Design, a methodology you will be using in an upcoming assignment. Please complete all sections of the course in preparation for our May 1st classroom session. 

Good luck with the course!


Methodological Overview

What is Methodology?

  • Methodology is thinking about how we can develop and obtain scientific knowledge

  • Methodology is the way research can be carried out (the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’)

What is Comparative Methodology?

We compare all the time, everything, everywhere. We are all born as comparative researchers

  • Comparative research aims to: collect information, to detect differences between countries, and to explain differences and similarities
  • Useful for hypothesis-testing 

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An hypothesis is a test-able statement about a possible causal relationship between two or more concepts.

Example hypothesis statement: “Countries with IMF loans are more likely to experience political instability than countries without IMF loans.”

There are 3 main types of comparative methods

MSS Design

Most Similar System Design

MSD Design

Most Similar Difference Design

Case Studies

Introduction to Most Similar System Design

What is the Most Similar System Design?

  • Method of difference
  • Examines similar variables between subjects in order to figure out why the outcome or dependent variable is different between the subjects
  • For your purposes : Seeks to identify key features that are different among similar countries, which account for dissimilar political outcomes.

What are the components of MSS Design?

Subject— social system that is being studied

Dependent Variable — outcome or phenomenon to be explained

Similar variable — feature that is shared among entities

Key difference variable — feature that differs among entities which explains a divergent outcome (i.e. dependent variable)

Now it's time to test what you've learned...

Test Your Knowledge!

Drag & Drop

Can you identify the components of MSS Design for the following example?

Drag and drop each component to the corresponding area of the table

  • Subject
  • Similar Variable
  • Dependent Variable
  • Key Difference Variable

Fill in the blanks

Most Similar System Design is a(n)  that examines variables of difference and similarity between  countries to explain  political outcomes within each country. 

Feedback Survey

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After this tutorial, I feel prepared to work on an assignment that requires the use of the Most Similar System Design method.

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