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Term 1 Week 8

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA)

In 1987 Charles Ragin introduced a new research method: qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). It worked with binary oppositions and was developed in particular for medium-N case studies – too large for classic comparative case studies and too small for statistical analysis. He would later develop so-called Fuzzy Sets to enable QCA with non-binary variables. QCA and Fuzzy Sets are not just methods for a different group of numbers of cases, they also follow a different logic than classical linear methods and have been enjoying increasing levels of popularity in evaluation research and neighboring fields.

Methodological readings Additional readings
  • [1] Rihoux, B. (2008) Case-oriented Configurational Research: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), Fuzzy Sets, and Related Techniques, in: J. Box-Steffensmeier, H. Bradi and D. Collier (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. Oxford UP, Ch. 31 (pp. 722-736).
  • [2] Thiem, A. (forthcoming) Navigating the Complexities of Qualitative Comparative Analysis: Case Numbers, Necessity Relations and Model Ambiguities, Evaluation Review: A Journal of Applied Social Research.

[1] Book available as e-book through library. Simply copy-paste the title of the book into the article search function of the 'encore'-platform.

[2] Journal article is forthcoming and will be made available soon.

  • [1] Rubenzer, T. (2008) Ethnic Minority Interest Group Attributes and U.S. Foreign Policy Influence: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis, Foreign Policy Analysis 4(2): 169-185.
  • [2] Krook, M. (2010) Women's representation in parliament: A qualitative comparative analysis, Political Studies 58(5): 886-908.

[1] [2] Journal available as e-journal through library. Simply copy-paste the title of the article into the article search function of the 'encore'-platform.

Recommended readings

  • [1] Grofman, B. and C. Schneider (2009) An Introduction to Crisp Set QCA, with a Comparison to Binary Logistic Regression, Political Research Quarterly 62(4): 662-672.

[1] Journal available as e-journal through library. Simply copy-paste the title of the article into the article search function of the 'encore'-platform.