CCM Research in Practice
This final chapter presents three research cases which represent typical methods and strategies in comparative and composite causal mapping. The idea is to discuss concrete examples of applying different CCM methods and thereby of some of the often emerging methodological issues. The first case (Section 7.1) represents the traditional “Axelrodian” approach to CCM. The study by Mingde Wang derives composite causal maps from documentary data, in this case published foreign policy speeches of Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader after Mao. The objective was to model and reconstruct the official belief system about international politics in contemporary China. The second study (Section 7.2) is by Mauri Laukkanen. It is based on semi-structured CCM interviewing and attempts to elicit and describe the typical belief patterns of Finnish small businesses advisors (SBAs) concerning the performance and growth of nascent small firms (NMF). The third case (Section 7.3) is a study also by Mauri Laukkanen. It uses two variants of the structured (concept pool) CCM approach, again with Finnish SBAs as participants. This study enables a comparison of two structured CCM approaches and the semi-structured CCM method. From a method selection viewpoint, this study shows that CCM methods can produce different data and also divergent findings. Thus, they are not necessarily interchangeable and freely selectable as method alternatives.