As Jonathan Hopkins (2010) states that in regard to comparative
politics in political enquiry that the term ‘comparative politics’ is too
widely misunderstood, as is it used in regard to research in ‘foreign countries’.
Comparative politics can take many forms, Hopkin (2010) notes that there is an
obvious paradox, for example an American political scientist, by simply crossing
the Atlantic will suddenly become a comparativist, due to the simple fact that
they are no longer in the country in which they studied politics. This
therefore also restricts the domain of comparative politics for practical analysis.
Comparative politics can be used for both political science and social
sciences. Comparison in political enquiry can be used as a form of observation
for the ways in which we approach different political problems and provides
opportunities for new ways of policy learning and views on different perspectives
(Hopkin, 2010). Comparative politics in political enquiry allows the researcher
to examine whether a political question or event is a national or regional
trend or more so an international global trend. However, perhaps the most useful aspect of
comparative politics for political enquiry is that for ‘developing, testing and
refining theories about casual relationships and all political research- even
purely descriptive narratives- involves causal claims if some kind’ (Hopkin,
2010). The use of comparative politics is ‘one of the primary means for establishing
social scientific genralizations’ (Ragin et al., 1996:749). This is true of a large majority of research
done in comparative politics, as it consists of idiographic studies (ones in
which are limited to a particular case or circumstance), and mostly just in one
country; this tends to lead to just broad generalisations about politics.