Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application

Social phenomena can rarely be attributed to single causes – instead, they typically stem from a myriad of interwoven factors that are often difficult to untangle. Drawing on set theory and the language of necessary and sufficient conditions, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is ideally suited to capturing this causal complexity. Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application is a comprehensive guide to QCA. This textbook teaches students, scholars, and self-learners the fundamentals of the method, research design, interpretation of results, and how to communicate findings.

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. This hands-on textbook is an essential resource for students and researchers looking for a complete and up-to-date introduction to QCA.

R Manual for QCA

The book is complemented by an online R Manual for QCA. This is regularly updated (current version: 3.0, October 2023). All instructions are entailed in the PDF file (R Manual for QCA). All code is included in the R Script, which works with the two sample data sets, as indicated. If you run into errors or if questions arise, please let me know.

Book Endorsements

‘A well-written, lucid textbook dealing with all the essentials that one needs to do a QCA analysis. Just the right amount of technical details to get the basic ideas across but easily understandable to those interested in learning QCA or brushing up on recent developments. A user-friendly R manual accompanies the book, allowing one to quickly start doing analyses’
Gary Goertz, University of Notre Dame, USA

‘Patrick Mello offers a thorough but approachable introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). He grounds his presentation of the approach in a discussion of the QCA research cycle, offering important analytic insights for novices and experts alike. Mello also includes ‘behind-the-scaffolding’ infoboxes where authors of published QCA studies comment on their analytic strategies’
Charles C. Ragin, University of California, Irvine, USA

‘A diverse set of empirical illustrations, a clear presentation of QCA as a research approach, and a sharp but yet accessible hands-on presentation of QCA protocols from A to Z: this textbook is a great companion for anyone seriously engaging with QCA’
Benoît Rihoux, University of Louvain, Belgium

‘Deftly navigating decades of methodological advancement, discussion, and debate, Mello produces a clearly written and well-reasoned guide to understanding QCA and how to conduct it effectively. Researchers from all disciplines will be well served by Qualitative Comparative Analysis: An Introduction to Research Design and Application, which teaches those new to the method how to do it well and provides a comprehensive reference for experienced QCA researchers’
Claude Rubinson, University of Houston-Downtown, USA

Book Orders

The book is available for order as hardcover, softcover, and eBook. A Japanese edition was published in December 2023.

Book Information

240 pages, 7 x 10 inches / 17,5 x 25 cm

46 Tables, 32 Figures, 7 Boxes by contributing authors

ISBN (hardcover): 9781647121440

ISBN (softcover): 9781647121457

ISBN (ebook): 9781647121464

288 pages, 5.83 x 8.27 inches, 15,2 x 21 cm

ISBN (Tankobon hardcover): 9784805113042