Call for Papers: Qualitative Comparative Analysis Applications and Methodological Challenges

November, 22 – 23, 2013 | Goethe-University Frankfurt

Since the publication of the seminal work “The Comparative Method” by Charles Ragin in 1987, set-theoretic methods and especially Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) have become a common research strategy in the social sciences. Over the last decades, scholars from sociology, organization studies, and political science have not only deepened the knowledge on design questions and technical details related to QCA, but have produced an increasing amount of studies using QCA in its different forms (csQCA, fsQCA, mvQCA and also tQCA).

Nevertheless, there still are challenges, pitfalls and open questions regarding all kinds of QCAs. For the planned conference, we invite empirically oriented research papers in the social sciences that use QCA. We hereby especially encourage submissions which address among others one of the following topics:

QCA and Large N

We invite for the submission of empirical QCA papers working with large numbers of cases. So far, there has been a certain consensus that QCA works best with a mid-sized number of cases. However, while there is consensus on not going below a certain number, such a consensus does not exist with regard to how large the number of cases may become. On the basis of empirical research, we want to debate what characteristics, potential and problems may arise in QCA research if N gets big or even too big.

QCA and Time

We also look for empirical applications that look at cases from a diachronic perspective or include sequential developments into their QCAs. Despite some valuable contributions, the question how to integrate time into a QCA continues to prevail. On the basis of conducted research, we want to discuss the challenges of changing membership scores over time and the rather limited level of complexity for which analyses of sequential developments with temporal QCA (tQCA) allow.

QCA and Mixed Methods

Finally, we encourage the submission of empirical contributions which discuss the use of qualitative and quantitative data and/or qualitative and quantitative strategies of analysis within a single QCA-study, or other mixed-methods approaches. Such research strategies promise a variety of benefits, such as complementarity; gaining of deeper insights into the data; and the cross-validation of findings. The aim of this conference is to take stock of these fields in set-theoretic research. We welcome paper proposals from new and established scholars focusing on empirically sound and advanced state QCA from sociology, political and organization science. It is planned to publish the best papers in an edited volume.

An additional panel will focus on QCAs-in-the-making, i.e. planned or just started QCA projects in the first research phases. Again, we invite both new and established QCA-users to present promising future work.

All accepted papers will be commented by QCA-experts. Moreover, a Round Table will debate the main topics at the end of the conference. This conference follows up on a previous event, organized in Hamburg in 2012.

Please send your paper proposal (200 – 300 words) to the local organizer Jonas Buche ( by August 1, 2013.

Prior to the conference, on November 20 and 21, an Introductory Workshop to QCA by Jonas Buche and Markus Siewert is offered. The registration fee for the workshop is 150€. The number of participants for the workshop is limited to 30, so we ask for early registration. The minimum number of participants is 15. Admission takes place in the order of applications.


If you just want to register for the conference please send an email to Jonas Buche as well (

N.B.: There will be no conference fee; travel and accommodation should be covered by the participants themselves.

Conference Organizers:

Claudius Wagemann (Goethe-University Frankfurt)
Betina Hollstein (University of Hamburg)
Jörg Raab (Tilburg University)