Sunbelt XXXIII: Call for Papers – Session SNA-QCA

Call for Papers for a session on “SNA meets QCA”

at the XXXIII. Sunbelt Conference, May 21 – 26, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany

Session organizers:
Anja Iseke, University of Paderborn, Germany
Jörg Raab, Tilburg University, the Netherlands

Like social network analysis (SNA), qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) has gained popularity as a research strategy and a family of methods since Charles Ragin (1989, 2000, 2008) introduced QCA to the social sciences. Following a set-theoretic approach, QCA views cases as configurations of outcomes and conditions based on Boolean algebra. In contrast to studying net effects of independent variables as in regression analysis, QCA methods seek to identify necessary and/or sufficient combinations of conditions that lead to an outcome. QCA is well atuned to multiple conjunctural causation, which implies that first, a combination of conditions (rather than a single condition) produces an outcome (conjunctural causation), second, there may be more than one combination of conditions which account for an outcome (equifinality), and third, a (combination) of condition leading to the presence of an outcome might be quite different from a combinations of conditions leading to the absence of the outcome (causal asymmetry).

So far, only few studies have combined SNA and QCA. For example, social networks have been studied as a condition (e.g., Stevenson & Greenberg, 2000) or as an outcome (Magetti, 2009). QCA has also been used to create typologies of networks (e.g., Yamasaki & Spreitzer, 2006) and Raab, Provan and Lemaire (forthcoming) discuss the combination for inter-organizational networks. Those studies provide ample evidence that QCA is a powerful approach for studying social networks. Configurational network theories may deepen our understanding of social networks antecedents, processes and outcomes, and QCA provide the methodological tools to test these theories. In addition, QCA is very suitable in combining qualitative and quantitative data to explain outcomes on the node, dyad or network level of analysis.

We invite abstracts for 20 minute oral presentations on social network studies that follow a configurational approach and/or apply set-theoretic methods, such as crisp-set QCA, multi-value QCA , fuzzy-set QCA from all social science disciplines.

Some of the questions to address include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Which combinations of conditions lead to specific outcomes? (e.g., what are necessary and sufficient conditions for occupying a central position in a network, what network characteristics are necessary and sufficient for high or low network effectiveness?)
  • Are certain network attributes (alone or in combination with other conditions) sufficient to explain a specific outcome (e.g., under which conditions are weak ties sufficient for receiving advice?)
  • Do actors occupying different network positions require different conditions to achieve a certain outcome? (e.g., do central or peripheral actors require different strategies or resources to perform well?

Submission will be closing on December 31 at 11:59:59 EST. Please limit your abstract to 250 words.

Proceed to abstract submission:

When submitting your abstract, please select “SNA meets QCA” as session title in the drop down box on the submission site. To be extra sure please put a note in the “additional notes” box on the abstract submission form that states Anja Iseke as the session organizer.

For further information on the venue and conference registration see

Fischer, M. 2011. Social Network Analysis and Qualitative Comparative Analysis: Their Mutual Benefit for the Explanation of Policy Network Structures. Methodological Innovations Online, 6(2): 27–51.

Maggetti, M. 2009. The role of independent regulatory agencies in policy-making: a comparative analysis. Journal of European Public Policy, 16(3): 450–470.

Raab, J., Provan, K. and Lemaire, R. The Configurational Approach in Organizational Networks Research, in:”Configurational Theory and Methods in Organizational Research”, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, edited by P. Fiss, A. Marx and B. Cambre, forthcoming.

Ragin, C. C. 1989. The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies (1st ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ragin, C. C. 2000. Fuzzy-Set Social Science. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Ragin, C. C. 2008. Redesigning social inquiry: Fuzzy sets and beyond. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stevenson, W. B., & Greenberg, D. 2000. Agency and Social Networks: Strategies of Action in a Social Structure of Position, Opposition, and Opportunity. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45(4): 651–678.

Yamasaki, S., & Spreitzer, A. 2006. Beyond Methodological Tenets. In H. Grimm & B. Rihoux (Eds.), Innovative Comparative Methods for Policy Analysis: 95–120. New York: Springer.