The purpose of this chapter is to make explicit the methodological choices at the origin of our research project. The first section comes back to its academic origins. The second describes the design of the comparison. The latter was more oriented to cases rather than variables according to Ragin’s distinction. Our overall research strategy was based on the disconfirmation of a most likely case. We chose a policy—accountability policy—which can be seen as a typical example of education policy promoted by transnational organizations to show that, even in this most likely case, governing changes at work are not unilateral but fundamentally multilevel and depend on the policy trajectory of each system, on a series of mediation processes occurring at various levels, and on the different logics of instrumentation at stake. If these aspects are empirically proven, then it can be argued that it is also true in least likely cases. The third section details the various analytical conventions to be defined throughout the research process (terminology, selection of cases, modes of collaboration within the project). The last two sections deal with the data and material collected through qualitative methods (mainly interviews, observations, and content analyses of documents) and how they were analyzed.
KeywordsCase-oriented comparison Most different system design Most likely case Qualitative analysis
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