Courses and Events
Qualitative Comparative Analysis
15/06/2017 - 16/06/2017
University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton
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This course provides an introduction to an increasingly popular range of analytic techniques in comparative research, commonly referred to as QCA (Qualitative Comparative Analysis). Based on set theory and formal logic, QCA aims to provide causal generalizations that strike a balance between complexity (inherent in case- oriented approaches) and generalizability (associated with variable-oriented approaches). The aim is to provide a practical understanding of both the crisp-set and fuzzy-set versions of QCA and to examine the main epistemological, methodological and mathematical foundations of these techniques.
Session 1: Introduction to crisp-set QCA
This session provides an introduction to the original, crisp-set version of QCA. We will first discuss the key concepts used in QCA literature, such as subset relations, complex causation, and equifinality. This will be followed by the basics of Boolean algebra. Finally, focusing on logical minimization and truth table analysis, we will explore how crisp-set QCA is done in practice. Given the time constraints, the focus will be more on practical than theoretical underpinnings of QCA.
Berg-Schlosser, D., G. De Meur, B. Rihoux and C. Ragin. (2009). ‘Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an Approach’ in B. Rihoux and C. Ragin, eds. Configurational Comparative Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Related Techniques. SAGE Publications, pp. 1-18.
Rihoux, B. and G. De Meur (2009). ‘Crisp-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (csQCA)’, in B. Rihoux and C. Ragin, eds. Configurational Comparative Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Related Techniques. SAGE Publications, pp. 33-68.
C. Ragin (2008). Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond. University of Chicago Press, Ch 1 (pp. 13-28)
Session 2: Introduction to fuzzy-set QCA
In this session we will focus on fuzzy-set QCA. This is a more advanced version of QCA that allows cases to have partial membership in sets, which makes fuzzy sets akin to conventional interval-scale variables. We will provide an overview of this technique and its main steps, focusing on key differences between crisp-set and fuzzy-set logics; the principles of data calibration, the use of conventional truth tables to analyze fuzzy-set data, and the assessment of subset relationships with fuzzy sets.
The last part of this session will be a practical exercise where participants will be given a simple data set to run a QCA analysis using fsQCA 2.0 software. (Note that there is a newer version of this software, but it is only slightly different. We will be using version 2.0 because this is what is installed on our computers, but you may want to install the newer version (2.5) on your computer from this link: http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~cragin/fsQCA/software.shtml
Ragin, C. (2009). ‘Qualitative Comparative Analysis Using Fuzzy Sets (fsQCA)’, in B. Rihoux and C. Ragin, eds. Configurational Comparative Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Related Techniques. SAGE Publications, pp. 87-122.
Ragin, C. (2008). Redesigning Social Inquiry: Fuzzy Sets and Beyond. University of Chicago Press. Ch. 2, pp. 29-43.
Ragin, C. (2005). ‘From Fuzzy-Sets to Crisp Truth Tables’, Compasss Working paper. Available at http://www.compasss.org/files/wpfiles/Raginfztt_April05.pdf
By the end of this workshop, students should:
Participants who wish to work on their own laptops are advised to install fsQCA software before the class. This software can be downloaded for free from:
Please note that this software is currently compatible only with Windows based computers. We will also download this software during our computer exercise on the desktops in the computer lab.
http://www.compasss.org/ is the key source for all things QCA and is well worth checking for further readings and advice on this method.
Dr Sabina Avdagic
University of Sussex (DTC Course)
Advanced (specialised prior knowledge)
External student from DTP partner universities (City, UEA, Essex, Goldsmiths, Kent, Reading, Roehampton, Royal Holloway, Surrey) - £10 External student all other institutions - £30 External faculty/other staff member - £100
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