State and Local Government: A Case Book

State and Local Government: A Case Book

State and Local Government: A Case Book

State and Local Government: A Case Book

Excerpt

The recent publication of Essays on the Case Method and the growing use of case studies in political science make it unnecessary to tax the reader with a methodological introduction as his price of admission to the 25 cases that follow. Nor will it be necessary to initiate him with an account of the fifteen-year history of the Inter-University Case Program, which has produced these cases primarily for the political science departments of nearly seventy participating colleges and universities.

The purpose of this collection is easily stated. It has been prepared to meet the expressed demand of professors in the state and local government field who regularly use ICP cases and who find it inconvenient to teach with ten to twenty separate studies. Several of the cases in the book have been teaching favorites from the time they emerged from the editorial desks of my predecessors, Harold Stein (1948-1953) and Paul Ylvisaker (1953-1954). Some of these older cases have been revised and brought up to date. Fifteen of the cases have appeared in the ICP-University of Alabama Press monograph series within the last five years. Three are 1963 publications.

Introducing a collection of case studies calls for a few words on at least two matters: (1) their accuracy and completeness, and (2) the claims made for their representativeness, if any.

Accuracy and Completeness

The reader will be helped in estimating the accuracy and completeness of the cases if he is familiar with the ICP's pattern of case preparation. Once a subject for a case study is chosen, the effort begins with the selection of a writer. He is usually a political scientist, and, before he is commissioned, consideration is given to such factors as: (a) his research and writing ability; (b) his ability to see the theoretical and scientific implications of the different aspects of the process that is to be portrayed; (c) his prospects for interviewing the principal actors and for studying files and corroborating documents; (d) any intellectual or occupational involvements that might inhibit his ability to produce a factual, complete account. The writer of an ICP case is usually told that he is expected to prepare an accurate narrative of government action that also conveys to the reader the contemporary strategies . . .

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