The study of policy implementation developed steadily and considerably in the 1970s and 1980s through two generations of research. Since then progress towards a more rigorous scientific “third generation research paradigm”, assumed to be crucial for further theoretical development, has been much slower and more uneven. Comparative studies figure prominently in this respect. On one hand they are strongly encouraged but on the other they are difficult to conduct according to best practice advice in the textbooks. Comparative implementation research is the theme of this special issue. In this Introduction the articles included are presented, focusing on how they deal with some of the issues posed by the norms of a rigorous “third generation” approach. Reasons for the state of affairs in implementation research are discussed. Some inherent dualities and tensions in contemporary comparative implementation research are identified as particular challenges.

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Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice
Department of Public Administration

Hupe, P.L, & Sætren, H. (2015). Comparative Implementation Research: Directions and Dualities. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 17(2), 93–102. doi:10.1080/13876988.2015.1015360