The chapters in Part II demonstrate clearly that comparative politics is an exciting, dynamic, and developing field in the social sciences both in terms of its substantive topics and methodological techniques (Mair 1996: 309). Comparative politics as a field is not merely defined in terms of its primary activity - comparing countries - but as a broad research community that seeks to provide individual, structural, and cultural explanations for observed political phenomena (Lichbach 1997: 240-241). Each of the research topics in Part II has been examined using comparative methods, while the review of the specific studies illustrates that some have been more systematic in their comparisons than others. This 'comparison of comparisons' identifies similarities and differences among the studies with respect to the operationalization of key concepts, overall research design, choice of countries, and types of comparative inferences they are able to make.