This article presents the conceptual and methodological framework of a two‐year comparative research project (2002–2004), funded by the University of Paisley. The study, entitled ‘Convergence or Divergence? Initial Teacher Education in Scotland and England’, investigated initial teacher education (ITE) policy and practice in England and Scotland in order to establish whether there is evidence of convergence or divergence between the two systems. The article first sets out the rationale for such work in the dual contexts of globalization and devolution before presenting and justifying the specific comparative methodological approach selected. The second half of the article focuses particularly on the study design and some of the challenges involved with its implementation, relating the discussion to the existing methodological literature. Finally, the authors attempt to highlight the methodological potential of the study for others working in the field of comparative education.