The comparison between different countries and cultures constitutes the most important methodological tool of sociology and the social sciences. With the establishment of regular worldwide social surveys in the 1980s, international comparative research has accomplished a fundamental empirical and methodological breakthrough. The easy accessibility of these international comparative survey data and packages of statistical data analysis, however, may distract from some crucial questions: Can we use such methods anywhere around the world? Is the meaning of translations of concepts into different languages equivalent? Which methods are the most appropriate when analyzing these data? Are nation states the adequate units for comparative analyses? Shall we use all available countries or select a few? This introduction addresses these questions and also offers an overview of the contributions in this special issue on the use of quantitative methods in international comparative research.
- international comparative research
- quantitative methods
- World Values Survey