This was the fourth time I offered a one-week intensive course on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the Summer School in Lugano (after 2016, 2019, and 2021). This year, the course was offered as full-day in-presence workshop, with 18 participants hailing from 11 countries.
Many thanks to all course participants for an intensive and fun week with QCA! And thanks to School Coordinator Janice Casarella and the School Directors Benedetto Lepori, Eugène Horber, and Patrick Gagliardini for the excellent and smooth organization!
The COMPASSS Network made some material from the last QCA Expert Workshop at ETH Zurich available on YouTube. This includes a 20-minute summary and some Q&A on my book Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown UP, 2021). This part starts in minute 12 of the recorded session (see the video link below).
QCA in International Relations: A Review of Strengths, Pitfalls, and Empirical Applications
International Studies Review published our open access article “QCA in International Relations: A Review of Strengths, Pitfalls, and Empirical Applications” (with Tobias Ide, Murdoch University, Perth). This is the first comprehensive review of QCA applications in International Relations (IR), covering empirical studies published between 1987 and 2020. The article discusses strengths and limitations of QCA and develops concise recommendations on how to improve QCA research in IR.
Abstract: Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) is a rapidly emerging method in the ﬁeld of International Relations (IR). This raises questions about the strengths and pitfalls of QCA in IR research, established good practices, how IR performs against those standards, and which areas require further attention. After a general introduction to the method, we address these questions based on a review of all empirical QCA studies published in IR journals between 1987 and 2020. Results show that QCA has been employed on a wide range of issue areas and is most common in the study of peace and conﬂict, global environmental politics, foreign policy, and compliance with international regulations. The utilization of QCA offers IR scholars four distinct advantages: the identiﬁcation of complex causal patterns, the distinction between necessary and sufﬁcient conditions, a middle ground between quantitative and qualitative approaches, and the reinforcement of the strengths of other methods. We ﬁnd that albeit a few exceptions, IR researchers conduct high-quality QCA research when compared against established standards. However, the ﬁeld should urgently pay more attention to three issues: the potential of using QCA in combination with other methods, increasing the robustness of QCA results, and strengthening research transparency in QCA applications. Throughout the article, we formulate strategies for improved QCA research in IR.
Registration opened for the 26th Summer School in Social Science Methods, organized by the Swiss Foundation for Social Science Research (FORS) and the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). The school takes place at USI in beautiful Lugano, Switzerland.
For the 4th time, I am offering a one-week course on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the Swiss Summer School. The course takes place in presence during the week of August 22-26, 2022. The intensive full-day format in a small group settings allows for plenty of opportunities to practice empirical application with the R software, to discuss research design, and give feedback on participants’ research projects.
Am 12. und 13. Januar 2022 habe ich am Max-Weber-Institut der Universität Heidelberg einen virtuellen Workshop zu Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) gehalten. Neben einer allgemeinen Einführung in die Methodik von QCA illustrierte der Workshop empirische Anwendungsmöglichkeiten und die konkrete Durchführung von QCA-Analysen mit R und den zugehörigen R Packages. Als Grundlage diente das Lehrbuch Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown University Press, 2021).
Herzlichen Dank an Prof. Matthias Koenig (Lehrstuhl Empirische Makrosoziologie) für die Einladung und an alle Teilnehmer*innen für den konstruktiven Workshop!
On December 13-15, I took part virtually in the 9th International QCA Expert Workshop and 5th International QCA Paper Development Workshop at ETH Zurich (organized by Manuel Fischer, Julia Leib, Johannes Meuer, Sofia Pagliarin, Ryan Rumble, and Christian Rupietta). The main workshop brought together a group of about 30 QCA experts from around the globe, most of whom participated online to discuss methodological innovations, the diffusion of QCA, and new measures of validity and robustness. The preceding paper development workshop included more than a dozen roundtables with about 50 applied QCA papers that were presented and discussed. I co-chaired roundtables with Sofia Pagliarin (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Nena Oana (European University Institute), presented my recent QCA textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application (Georgetown University Press), and took part in the jury for the QCA Best Paper Award (together with Yunzhou Du, Peer Fiss, Benoît Rihoux, Carsten Schneider, and Eva Thomann).
Georgetown University Press has just published my QCA textbook Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application. Following an ideal-typical research cycle, the book’s ten chapters cover the methodological basis and analytical routine of QCA, as well as matters of research design, causation and causal complexity, and QCA variants. A comprehensive glossary helps to clarify frequently used terms. The book is complemented by an accessible online R manual to help new users practice QCA’s analytical steps on sample data and then implement those steps with their own findings. The book further contains boxes by other authors from across the social sciences, who are reflecting on their own QCA applications and their use of specific variants of the method. For more information, reviews, and online material, please click the button below.
Am 30. September und 1. Oktober 2021 habe ich am Fachbereich Interkulturelle Wirtschaftskommunikation (IWK) der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena einen virtuellen Workshop zu Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) gehalten. Der Workshop diente der allgemeinen Einführung in die QCA-Methodik sowie der konkreten Anwendung von QCA im Rahmen laufender Forschungsprojekte des IWK.
Herzlichen Dank an das ganze IWK-Team für den konstruktiven Workshop und den anregenden Austausch zu sozialwissenschaftlichen Methoden!
This was the third time that I offered a one-week intensive course on Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) at the Swiss Summer School in Lugano (after 2016 and 2019, respectively). The course was offered in hybrid format, with in-presence and online participants attending the course.
Many thanks to all course participants for an intensive and fun week with QCA! And thanks to School Coordinator Janice Casarella and the School Directors Eugène Horber, Patrick Gagliardini, and Benedetto Lepori for the excellent and smooth organization!
The Routledge volume Researching Non-State Actors in International Security: Theory and Practice, edited by Andreas Kruck and Andrea Schneiker, has now been turned into a fully open access book. The book contains chapters on “interpreting texts” (Part I), “establishing causal claims” (Part II), and “doing fieldwork” (Part III). I contributed a chapter on “Qualitative Comparative Analysis and the Study of Non-State Actors” to Part II of the volume. The book’s substantive chapters are complemented by “discussion chapters” where commentators draw together and reflect upon the respective areas of research.
Many thanks to the editors and other contributors for their efforts turning this into an open access book! I am grateful for the open access funding approved by the University of Erfurt to contribute to this aim.
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