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The article is based on methodological reflections and recollections from two qualitative cross-national research projects, one of them comparing Finland and Scotland, and the other one Scotland and Spain. One of them was a case-oriented study of local regeneration strategies in two cities, while the other one used an ethnographic approach for the study of local practices on maternity and child healthcare services. The article is based on the authors' dialogue and it contributes to the discussion about the value of a qualitative approach in cross-national comparisons and its place in the field of comparative research. It points at its advantages in enabling the analysis of societies and their specific features from inside to recognize cultural and social contexts, but it also draws attention to some specific problems and challenges concerning qualitative cross-national research by providing concrete examples from the two pieces of research.
case oriented comparison; qualitative analysis; cross-cultural ethnography; cross-national research; cultural sensitivity; finland; local strategies; scotland; spain