Dinosaur Comics and Concept Building

This week in Jim Mahoney’s Political Science 310: Methods of Political Inference course, we are exploring the formulation of concepts for qualitative research.

To make my TA sections a bit more interesting, I am having my students this week explore the ladder of generality, methods of analytical differentiation, and concept stretching in part through an analysis of this episode of Dinosaur Comics


  1. How are T-Rex’s thoughts on sandwichocracy related to the ladder of generality?
  2. What forms of analytical differentiation are T-Rex, Utahraptor, and Dromiceiomimus employing in their concept-building exercise?
  3. Do they raise any concerns with regard to conceptual stretching?

Please discuss. I am eternally grateful to my friend and colleague, Mitch Troup, who introduced me to this delightful comic


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