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Statistical Models and Causal Inference by Jasjeet S. Sekhon, David Collier, David A. Freedman

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7Black Ravens, White Shoes, and Case Selection: Inference with Categorical Variables

        ABSTRACT. Ideas from statistical theory can illuminate issues in qualitative analysis, such as case selection. Mahoney and Goertz (2004) offer some principles for selecting cases, illustrated by Hempel’s Paradox of the Ravens. The paradox disappears if one distinguishes between inference about samples and inference about populations from samples. The Mahoney-Goertz rules have limited utility; it is inadvisable to disregard any cell in a 2 × 2 table.

7.1  Introduction

        How should qualitative researchers select cases? This is an important question, which has been widely canvassed. Mahoney and Goertz (2004) offer some principles to govern case selection, ...

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