Qualitative Comparative Analysis – ECPR Summer School

European Consortium for Political Research

ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques, Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets, Patrick A. Mello  and Carsten Q. Schneider

  • Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2017
  • Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2016
  • University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2015
  • University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2014

Between 2014 and 2017, I co-taught the QCA course at the ECPR Summer School, together with Carsten Q. Schneider (CEU Budapest), and Teaching Assistants Nena Oana (2014-2017), Priscilla Álamos-Concha (2014), and Adrian Dușa (2015). A mainstay of the Summer School for many years, this course has been the “most popular two-week course” at the ECPR Summer School in 2014 and 2015.

From the course outline:This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with a focus on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught at the ECPR Winter School in Bamberg. The course starts out by familiarizing students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytical tool is used for exploring social science data. Right from the beginning, students will be exposed to performing set-theoretic analyses with the relevant R software packages. When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Examples are drawn from published applications in the social sciences. Participants are encouraged to bring their own raw data for in-class exercises and assignments, if available.

For the current program and course offerings, see the website of the ECPR Methods Schools. Note that there is also an advanced QCA course, as part of the ECPR Winter School.