Institution: see Organisers & Supporters
Programme of study: International Research Workshop
Lecturer: Dr. Jonas Buche (Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture)
Date: see Workshop Programme
Max. number of participants: 20
Credit Points: 5 CP for participating in the whole IRWS
Language of instruction: English
Contents: Since publishing 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. Set-theoretic methods analyse cases concerning identifying sufficient and necessary conditions and assume set relations to be equifinal, conjunctural and asymmetric. Since so-called fuzzy sets have been introduced to the method, there has been a rising interest in QCA as a welcome alternative to both small-n case studies and large-n statistical analyses. In short, QCA is recommended if ‘if…then’ hypotheses are analysed, if the goal is to derive sufficient and necessary conditions, if a comparison is planned, and if there is a mid-sized number of cases (between 10 and 60+).
The course offers a comprehensive introduction to QCA and is conceptually and technically oriented. It starts off with an overview of the basics of set theory and demarcates QCA as a case-oriented method from both the quantitative and the interpretive-qualitative research paradigms. The single elements are built into the Truth Table Algorithm through the notion of necessary and sufficient conditions and truth tables. However, this algorithm is not free of problems. Therefore, some pitfalls and strategies on how to overcome them are presented. The software tool fsQCA will be introduced and applied to published studies on the third day.
A requirement of students: No prior knowledge is required. We will use the software fsQCA, which can be downloaded at www.fsqca.com.
Recommended literature and pre-readings:
- Buche, Jonas. 2017. “Assessing the Quality of Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) – Evaluation, Improvement, Application”. Hannover: Leibniz Universität (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323749578_Assessing_the_Quality_of_Qualitative_Comparative_Analysis_QCA_Evaluation_Improvement_Application)
- Cebotari, Victor, and Maarten P. Vink (2013). “A Configurational Analysis of Ethnic Protest in Europe.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Vol. 54(4), 298-324.
- Schneider, Carsten Q./Wagemann, Claudius, 2012. Set-Theoretic Methods for the Social Sciences. A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
You must register for the International Research Workshop to participate in this course.