Case study research and critical IR: the case for the extended case methodology

Roberto Roccu, Daniela Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
309 Downloads (Pure)


Discussions on case study methodology in International Relations (IR) have historically been dominated by positivist and neopositivist approaches. However, these are problematic for critical IR research, pointing to the need for a non-positivist case study methodology. To address this issue, this paper introduces and adapts the extended case methodology as a critical, reflexivist approach to case study research, whereby the case is constructed through a dynamic interaction with theory, rather than selected, and knowledge is produced through extensions rather than generalisation. Insofar as it seeks to study the world in complex and non-linear terms, take context and positionality seriously, and generate explicitly political and emancipatory knowledge, the extended case methodology is consistent with the ontological and epistemological commitments of several critical IR approaches. Its potential is illustrated in the final part of the paper with reference to researching the socio-economic dimension of transitional justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-87
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Relations
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jan 2019


  • case studies
  • critical International Relations
  • extended case methodology
  • methodology


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