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Considering ComparisonA Method for Religious Studies$
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Oliver Freiberger

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965007

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199965007.001.0001

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Comparison in Practice: A Methodological Framework

Comparison in Practice: A Methodological Framework

(p.111) 4 Comparison in Practice: A Methodological Framework
Considering Comparison

Oliver Freiberger

Oxford University Press

This chapter seeks to connect the insights gained in Chapter 2 with comparative practice, outlining a methodological framework that identifies two sets of elements of the comparative enterprise. First it describes the general configuration of a comparative study, distinguishing modes, scales, and scopes of comparison. Each of these categories comprises several options, out of which the researcher selects those that are most appropriate for the study. Second, the chapter breaks down the comparative process into five operations: selection, description and analysis, juxtaposition, redescription, and rectification/theory formation. This methodological framework provides a vocabulary that enables us to talk about the elements of the comparative method. A comparativist may use it as a template or foil against which he or she devises a comparative study. It provides tools for questioning, reconsidering, and defending decisions made in the study. Second, the framework may be used to analyze and evaluate existing comparative studies.

Keywords:   modes of comparison, scales of comparison, scopes of comparison, selection, description/analysis, juxtaposition, redescription, rectification/theory formation, counterfactual questioning

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